Thoughts on Leviticus, Day 4 Lent 2013

In my Bible reading plan this Lent, reading through the entire Bible in 40 days, I consumed Leviticus up to chapter 15, a little over half way. I studied this book a few years ago with some co-workers and was confused then. It misses context. It starts off listing the ingredients for different sacrifices. But what are the occasions for each type of sacrifice?
Ch. 1 - Burnt offering
Ch. 2 - Grain offering
Ch. 3 - Fellowship offering
Ch. 4 - Sin offering (this one is self-explanatory)
            lots of examples for bringing this sacrifice
Ch. 5 - Guilt offering (not sure how it's different from sin offering)
           more examples for bringing in this sacrifice
Ch. 6 - review of 1, 2, and 4
Ch. 7 - review of 3 and 5
           health tip - don't eat fat and blood
           making sure the priest's get the leftovers from all these sacrifices
Ch. 8 - Exodus 29 put into action and Moses's brother Aaron gets ordained. I appreciate this input on Aaron, the guy who made an idol for the Israelites while Moses was on the mountain. He didn't deserve the job, but God forgave.
Ch. 9 - Aaron starts his job
Ch. 10 - Two of Aaron's sons do the job wrong and get killed by God on the spot, then Moses tells Aaron not to perform any grieving rituals, then Aaron does it wrong and Moses chews him out, Aaron told him to back off. Moses did. Aaron did not get killed. God again forgave him, but not his boys.
Ch. 11 - Crazy food rules. They are somewhat arbitrary, sort of like my crazy Lenten fasts, and when I let them be arbitrary, instead of trying to justify them, it's cool. No pork! No insects except grasshoppers. These are the rules that God cleared up for Peter, saying they no longer applied in Acts 10. Thank you Jesus!
Ch. 12 - Disturbing purification rituals for women who give birth. Because of the blood shed in birth, mom is unclean, requiring a burnt offering and a sin offering to be declared clean. There is a provision for poor women, only two birds, what Jesus' mother Mary brought, Luke 2:24. The weird thing is, after she sits around as unclean for a week, she is supposed to wait a month before bringing her sacrifice. Mary did not do this, so things changed. If a daughter is born, mom is unclean for two weeks, and has to wait two months before bringing her sacrifice. It might be nice to have the extra time off but i's not a good thing since her state of uncleanness is doubled.
Ch. 13 - Skin rashes. Way too much discussion about whether someone's skin issues might be a disease that's contagious, making them unclean, and kicked out of society. It's harsh on the individual, but would prevent epidemics. Big focus on sick house syndrome with a discussion on mold and fungus issues.
Ch. 14 - What to do if the skin rashes or mold improve or decline. This is not compelling reading.
Ch. 15 - Emissions from men or women's reproductive systems make them unclean, women for a week, men for a day, unless they get intimate during her menses, making him unclean for a week as well.

For the most part, this book leaves me irritated. I get that the rules are tutors, as Paul calls them, that instruct us of our need for a savior. In Paul's letter to the Galatian church writes, 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Gal. 3 These laws are exasperating. I'm grateful for faith. I'm grateful for a high priest who gives us rest, see Hebrews 4-5. I'm grateful for a cleansing that does not involve a myriad of sacrifices, see 1 John 1:9. I'm grateful I can eat pork barbecue. I'm glad I'm in the present, and not that past. It's sort of like when I read American history. So much of it is shameful, embarrassing, and painful. I'm glad so much has improved, and irritated at how many were ground down in the process of getting to here and now. There is still so much to fix in America. Like everything else, the fixing starts with me.

Dig. Lift. Toss. A few more inches of snow is expected tonight, which means more time to meditate and wait for epiphanies while trying to convince God to see things my way.

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