Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Strings Attached (Lev. 16-21)

I am a list maker, so I really appreciated the writing style in this portion of Leviticus.  It’s so interesting how this list of rules God gave the Israelites has evolved in the Christian faith.  Today some of the rules are totally irrelevant (“Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.” 19:19), some are still steadfast (“Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.” 19:13), and others still, are up in the air or interpreted in different ways (“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists…” 19:31).  God set these rules because he knew the Israelites and he knew they needed these specific guidelines to keep them on task and mindful of Him. I find myself feeling bad for the Israelites (silly, I know since they were God’s chosen people), but these rules made complete sense in their lives.  In the same way, if God wrote out guidelines in a book for us today He may not mention it being a sin to plant two seeds in one field (19:19), but instead cheating on tax returns, or lying on a resume, or hacking into computers, or ignoring your kids to read Twilight.  Just kidding about that last one… kind of.

In her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Rachel Held Evans wrote,

   “Some rabbis say that, at birth, we are each tied to God with a string and that every time we sin, the string breaks.  To those who repent of their sins, especially in the days of Rosh Hashanah, God sends the angel Gabriel to make knows in the string, so that the humble and contrite are once again tied to God.  Because each of us fails, because we all lose our way on the path to righteousness from time to time, our strings are full of knots.  But, the rabbis like to say, a string with many knots is shorter than one without knots.  So the person with many sins but a humble heart is closer to God.”

Is that gorgeous or what?  I know you are a good person and leading the best life possible, but isn’t it a comfort to know that even when we screw up we don’t have the punishments of Leviticus 20? But instead we can offer up a sincere apology and move that much closer to God’s heart.

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