Wednesday, April 27, 2011

what the?

Well I just finished the book of Exodus, day 7 reading in P90X.  And all I can think is what the...?

Yes, I have read this before, but it has been awhile.  And I am starting to see why.  Not because it isn't valuable, because I believe all of God's Word is, but this is a God that confuses me.  Most of the stuff I am reading about doesn't seem like the God I serve.  But in relation to everyday life, how is that really different?

These character traits of God are not really the selling factor of the Christian faith.  Pages upon pages of detailed descriptions of how to gut a bull for sacrifice, where to rub its blood on your body, and what size to make EVERYTHING.  It all sounds like something that if I walked into a church today and they were talking about, much less doing, I would be running away and calling the police or the news or something.  It reads like the CRAZY christians that we hear about in the media.

So, what is the point.  Why all the detail?  Why all the killing of people?  Why all the seemingly evil things written in pages of the manual that is supposed to teach me how to live?

I don't know.  I know that is shocking to some of you as I seem to think I know everything.  But, this I don't know.  I only know what I believe.

This Old Testament God isn't a different God from the one I know and love.  He isn't different from the Jesus who walked on the earth and sacrificed himself for our salvation, conquering death for our eternal life.  He didn't change over time.  He isn't morphing into the God He is supposed to be.  The New Testament writers didn't get Him right and the Old Testament writers weren't crazy.

He is all these traits, which baffles our puny minds and rightly so.  Sometimes it just comes down to, because He is God and must know what He is doing.

It also teaches me that the Words of God need to be taken in context of His character and His design for me and used with great wisdom.  Let's face it there are a TON of verses in Exodus (let alone the chapters coming soon in my reading!) that could be the mission statement for some pretty evil people.

For example:  If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished.  (Sounds good so far, right...other than MAYBE God could have said and by the way don't have slaves.)  BUT he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.  Exodus 21:20-21


Taken in context God is teaching the people how to live as a new people.  They are wandering around aimlessly in the desert and they need some direction.  So he VERY specifically gives them some of that direction for everything in life!

I imagine there are groups of christians that read this and think they can have slaves, as long as they let them go after 7 years.  If we were to take these literal words written for them as the way we are also to set up our communities and live, that is what we would do.

But again, I don't know.  I don't know what the point is, but I believe there is one.  I don't know that God will reveal it to me through my continued reading, but I am hoping there will be glimpses of clarity.

We serve a God who is all things.  And that just makes my mind tired and so I lean on faith, rather than thinking.

And in all the bloody mess of those Scriptures, I find God coming to Moses and saying words that seem contrary to all the context...The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.  Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished;  Ex. 34:6-7

He is God.  We are not.  Enough said.

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