The Postmarks – No One Said This Would Be Easy
Ok, so here we are four weeks in, and I’m guessing no one is loving me too much for the Cover-to-Cover challenge. What sounded so well-intentioned, pious, and worth-while on the front-end is starting too lose its luster in a hurry.
If you are on track, you will have read through Exodus 36 today. Not the most inspirational reading by anyone’s reckoning. It would be the exceedingly rare person who finds the detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle inspiring. More on this next week.
However, I think a word or two is in order concerning the ‘miscellaneous’ laws or what is sometimes known as ‘civil’ law. I know that it seems like God is actively promoting retribution, but you should know that God isn’t trying to institute some detailed process for revenge. These laws are actually meant to curtail an excess of revenge.
So for example for when it says things like, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” while gruesome sounding to our ears, could be read, “an eye and no more.” You can’t kill someone for knocking out your tooth. All you are entitled to is an equal measure of retribution. Same goes for bulls goring and accidental deaths and so on. The Law says, “you may be entitled life for life, but you can’t out of revenge kill off the offender’s entire family.” Societies both ancient and modern left to their own tend towards barbarism. It is the Judeo-Christian tradition that steers people towards more humane ways of being human.
Another example of humanity’s drift towards sub-human existence is the commandment that says, “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.” Now apart from getting the middle-schoolers at church giggling, what purpose does this verse serve? Does it seem as strange to you as it does to me that people need to be told that sex with animals is a departure from God’s plan for human sexuality? Was it a widespread problem at the time?
Who knows. The point is they had to be told… Don’t do this. This is wrong. Again, society left to its own will sink to the lowest levels of human depravity. It is God, his Word, and ultimately his Spirit that elevates human beings to their role as image-bearers of God.