Sunday, February 05, 2012

I Would Be Toast

I was born at just the right time in history. Recently a friend and I took up the challenge to read the Bible through in 66 days. If you didn't know, there are 66 books in the Bible. That's a book per day. More precisely, it is 18.0151515 chapters per day. Some chapters are short. Psalm 117 only has two verses. On the flip side, Psalm 119 has 176 verses. Psalm 118 languishes there in the middle with a more typical 29 verses.

Last week I decided to take down two of the "giants." You know what I mean. It's easy to read Genesis. Hey, God's creating the world! It's a good read! And then you jet through the first half of Exodus with stories of plagues of locust and water turning into blood. Frogs everywhere. Riveting stuff. Then suddenly ... BOOM. The last half of Exodus brings you back to earth with its boring monologue of rules and regulations. Still, you can get through it because the odor of sweaty, terrified, Israelites lingers in your nostrils from their trek through the Red Sea.

Leviticus and Numbers ... that's a whole new deal. The sin of fallen man required that animals be sacrificed and rules be obeyed. It was a band-aid. A temporary fix to the sin problem. But it was very real and very important to those Israelites to whom it applied. And as I waded through the details my mood sank like Pharaoh beneath the waves of the sea. And I realized ...

If I lived in the days of Moses I would be toast.

How did anyone survive? I mean, I understand why anybody who gives their child to Molech the pagan god should be put to death. Give your kid away and you deserve pure wrath-filled judgement. But I knew I was in trouble when I found out that whatever animal you sacrifice to the Lord must be without blemish. You see, I don't really know what a goat is suppose to look like. What constitutes a blemish on a goat? Honestly, the entire thing looks like one big blemish to me! Same thing with Rams. Fact is, I live in St. Louis where all Rams are blemished. (Sly football reference.) And then God says in Leviticus 26 that if you disobey Him, He will "visit you with panic." Panic? Can you imagine the panic God can visit you with if He sets His mind to it?


You see, I have a sin problem. I'm better than I use to be but I'm still pretty messed up. I don't need panic adding to my issues. Numbers 19 tells me when I should burn a heifer. Not just a heifer. A red heifer. Friends, the only way I would recognize a red heifer is if it was standing next to a blue chicken and you told me to guess which was which. Furthermore if I find myself in a tent with a dead person I'm unclean for seven days! I don't go in many tents and now you know why. My "camping-avoidance-mechanism" suddenly makes total sense. And then there is the statute that says if I accidentally drop a rock on someone and he or she DIES (this hasn't happened to me yet but obviously it does happen or God wouldn't have mentioned it) then it is up to the congregation to judge whether the "Avenger of Blood" gets me or I can hide out in a "city of refuge." Avenger of Blood? How do you get that job? Honestly, I don't have that great of a track record when my future has been "up to the congregation." But I digress.

It is clear that, in order to survive in the days of Moses, you had to be very, very, careful. And it wouldn't hurt to have the spiritual gift of administration because you certainly want to have your act in order. As for me ... I'm grateful to be a New Testament believer. I'm thanking God a little more profusely for grace today. I'm more aware than ever of how vitally important the blood of Jesus is.

Without it ... I'm toast.