Rather than wallowing in the self-loathing because I never posted my project 4:4 entry from last week, I'm just going to combine it with this week's and pretend like I meant for it to happen that way.
On Wednesday of last week when I still hadn't posted the 4:4 post, I claimed that it wasn't an exciting week of reading and blamed Leviticus. But I was at least half-wrong. The first part of the week's reading came from the end of Numbers and Deuteronomy and included portions Moses's farewell address, which I think is some pretty awesome stuff. It had just been so long since I read it, and my head was so full of rotten tv that I couldn't remember it. Oops.
I love the idea of the farewell address so much. Moses has been the leader of these people for forty years, and as they are finally about to embark on this journey into the Promised Land, he has to send them on without him. He takes them back and reminds them of where they've been and Who's been with them, and exhorts them to remember and live accordingly as they enter this new phase. The folks he's addressing now are a younger generation than those original complainers, as we've waited forty years for them to die out. But there are people in this crowd who will still remember Egyptian slavery, God's mighty deliverance through the plagues and Red Sea parting, the covenant made in the desert, the voice of God speaking to them. But there is also an even younger generation hearing these words who won't have the same first-hand experiences, and Moses lays the burden of passing on this story to all generations. And there's some beautiful language thrown in, just for me. Deuteronomy six is definitely one of my favorite passages in the Bible, for just that reason.
All through the Daily Bible readings so far, we've skipped most of the law-giving information because F. LaGard has chosen to put it all together in one place, and we've finally reached that place in our reading. He's grouped similar passages under whatever type of law it is. So far we've covered the laws concerning religious observances--feasts, holidays, various kinds of offerings (and there are a lot of them), and priestly law. We've covered ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness, Nazarite vows, and the consequences for not following all of these laws. I'm still reading about the law this week too, so I'll have more to say about it later also. Lucky readers.
There was one particular day's reading that really stuck out for me this time: In Wednesday's reading, we examined the priesthood, and I ran across a passage that is difficult for me. In Leviticus 21:16-24, we learn that descendants of Aaron who are disabled in various ways cannot serve as a priest. Call me a product of the 20th/21st centuries, but this troubles me. I can understand that some physical limitations might prevent people from fulfilling the duties of a priest, but several of the things listed certainly wouldn't--and the "defects" mentioned seem, for the most part, entirely beyond the control of these men. It's sad to me, and I think it doesn't help that the some of the terminology used is very similar to the descriptions of unblemished nature of the animals that are to be sacrificed. I can understand the idea of God demanding an animal sacrifice without defect. Giving to God animals that have little value or are not useful does seem to go against the idea of sacrificing the best or firstfruits, so I get that. But this priest thing is different to me. These are people, God's people, who are being excluded from God's service, when birth into the Levite tribe should ensure their place as a part of the tabernacle work. What should I do with this passage? How do I make this idea fit into this picture of God-relationship that I'm forming through this reading?
I haven't looked ahead yet, but so I don't know when I'll get this law business taken care of so that I can get back to the story, but I'm trying to be patient. I understand why the law is important and detailed and all that jazz. I've talked about that before--that I appreciate the fact that God cares about the details of their lives. He knows what's best for them, and this whole law business is supposed to result in holiness, so I can't overlook it or rush it or be impatient with it. But in my tired and draggy and impatient and utterly human way, I'm ready for some action.