Thursday, February 9, 2012
Welcome to Day 40 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Leviticus 10, the tragic death of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, who offered “unauthorized” or “strange” fire before the Lord… so they suffered death… by fire. Aaron and his other sons were forbidden to leave the tent of meeting… Everyone else was permitted to mourn, but not them… Their bodies were carried outside the camp.
Wondering if Nadab and Abihu had been drinking? The LORD spoke to Aaron directly… v 8, “Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses.” Perhaps too much wine clouded their judgment or caused them to be reckless in their duties?? Purely speculation in this context… But this ordinance hadn’t been instituted before… not out of the realm of possibility?
Such a tragedy to lose TWO sons like this… I can’t imagine. Moses wouldn’t have made a very good counselor… Did he not console his brother? If he did it’s not recorded in scripture.
Moving on to Leviticus 11, the whole issue of clean and unclean animals is addressed… Mammals, fish, birds and insects… all have both clean and unclean species.
But now we move on to Leviticus 12… a woman being unclean both during her period AND immediately following childbirth. Again, this had to do with blood. (Odd that you only were unclean seven days if you had a boy, but unclean 14 days if you had a girl? Isn’t that interesting? That seems strange to me that there is a distinction… But sacrifices were to be male animals… Hmmm… Somehow all this fits together…)
Guessing the gender issue had to do with the plague of the firstborn males being killed in Egypt. There’s purpose in all this beyond gender preference or a male-dominant view. Males had to be circumcised… justsayin’.
Acts 16, funny… then Paul suggests Timothy be circumcised because of the Jewish believers where they were going. (His father was Greek… His mother was a Jewish believer.) So, for the sake of his audience… to remove that issue as a point of contention, he was circumcised. Not because he HAD to… but because it was going to make his life easier… and make it so that people could hear him better. To take that objection off the table.
Paul cast the spirit out of the fortune teller and got thrown into prison, along with Silas. When they were released, Paul pulled his “Roman Citizen” card… and got an escort out of the city.
Didn’t realize there were insects with only four legs… ; )
Could speculate on this one issue regarding food for days… The main criteria was “You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.” Cow is ok, chews the cud and has a divided hoof. Pig, not ok. Doesn’t chew the cud… Has a divided hoof… but doesn’t chew the cud. I just like saying that… “It doesn’t chew the cud.”
No bacon… Pulled pork… Pork chops… Pork loin or ribs…
Lobster and crab? No scales or fins… Sorry Red Lobster.
Don’t have to worry too much about the insect thing… ick. Not just eating them… touching them made you unclean, too… I’ve touched a lot of bugs in my day…
The unclean birds and SOME of the fish have this in common… they are scavengers, living off the flesh of dead carcasses. That can’t be good… Some speculate that God was looking out for our health and that foods and preservation practices weren’t what they are today. But still… Regardless of the reason, God made it abundantly clear to not eat certain things… whatever his reasons.
Was thinking about this yesterday in Acts 15 when they told the Gentile believers they didn’t have to be circumcised, but to NOT eat food with blood or that had been strangled. Why one and not the other?
Goes back to the issue of the life is in the blood. Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”Blood has always been sacred, even before the Law was given… Genesis 9:3-4, “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.”
That is a pretty clear directive. Most people go back to that passage in Acts 10 when God spoke to Peter in the vision of the sheet with all manner of animals and things that creep on the ground and he told Peter to “kill and eat.” Peter refused initially because he said he had never eaten anything unclean. God replied, “What I have called clean, don’t you call it unclean.” It goes on to say that Peter was wondering about the vision… and some men showed up asking him to meet with Cornelius (a Gentile) and then the gift of the Holy Spirit was granted to the Gentiles.
Not 100% positive that this passage deemed all foods clean… given the context, it may not…
However in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul touched on a similar topic about eating meat sacrificed to idols, which in the Old Testament God would have been appalled by… Paul notes that “an idol is nothing at all.” But then he goes on to say to be careful about such matters so as to not be a stumbling block to others… similar theme as in Romans 14.
(Obviously I am chewing on this issue… no pun intended. ; )
Still pondering about meat with blood… and how the animals were killed (strangled vs. throat being slit).
Wondering if Peter and the other early church leaders were still hanging on to some law and tradition?
Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 15 that it’s not what goes into a person that defiles them… it’s what comes out of our mouth…
Ok… enough about that… I’ll move on.
Note that while Paul and Silas were in chains/prison, they were praying and singing hymns to God… and there was an earthquake that broke their chains… they could have left, but didn’t… and the jailer was saved and took them TO HIS HOUSE! His whole house was saved and baptized… Then they shared a meal together. Gotta love that!
I’m still thinking through the food issue and how that applies to my life. I love a steak, medium rare… but now I’m wondering about it… Not a legalism issue… more like a “best practices” issue for me at this point… Not right or wrong…
Also love the stories of the early church… the situations they faced, the opportunities they were given to appear before government officials and how they responded to them and to being in jail. And how Peter was released from prison by an angel… but Paul and Silas stayed after an “earthquake?” Interesting…
Lord, help me as I sort through all this in my head and in my heart… to know how this fits for me… How I should respond to this… Give me a heart like Paul and Silas that I would respond to tough situations with prayer and worship…