BiND: Day 6
I have written before about how the Bible is the story of God’s people and their interaction with God. Today’s reading plays that out pretty clearly–it’s almost all laws for how God’s people will live together and with God. So there are rules about worship, about what the priests can wear, and about what happens if someone worships another God. And there are rules that make for a safer society–no killing, no stealing, etc. And there are rules about everyday life: “when someone causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets livestock loose to graze in someone else’s field, restitution shall be made from the best in the owner’s field or vineyard.” It’s not always a thrill to read these kinds of scripture passages–sometimes we may even wonder why all this stuff that sounds like the Illinois Legal Code even made it into the Bible.
Well, I suspect it got in because the Bible is the story of a relationship between God and God’s people. Early in the story, it was a very particular people who were to form their society in a very particular way–this
isn’t an abstract book about an abstract God and that god’s relationship to “people” as a concept. This is a story, it’s about particular people in a particular place and time, and it’s about a particular God. So boring or bizarre or archaic and irrelevant as the laws (and the ones we’ll read in coming days) may seem, they tell us important things. They can still give guidance thousands of years later if we’re able to read the spirit and the context well, and they also give us a peek into the society of our faith family. Most importantly, they show us a God who is personal and particular, who is involved and caring, who is interested in our daily lives and what we choose to do with those lives to further God’s kingdom on earth. So keep reading–don’t get bogged down here! There is amazing stuff in the stories to come.
photos are of and from Mt. Sinai, where Moses and the Israelites met and worshiped God and also received the law. Jewish tradition says that ALL the law–the commandments, all the rest of the books from Exodus through Deuteronomy, and also the interpretations–were received by Moses on this mountain. photos taken by TCP