Today's reading: Leviticus 25:8-Numbers 4:28
What's in today's reading: Property rules, taking care of the poor, the first census.
We wind down our look at the rules set forth in the book of Leviticus. It ends with "These are the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai."
These are the commandments. All of them. Not just 10, but there are hundreds here regarding everything from what you eat to what you give to God to how you tend your fields. Why so many?
Because these people were like children. All they had known their whole lives, until now, was slavery. With their first taste of freedom they immediately turned their backs on the God that rescued them and worshiped a golden calf. So, obviously, they need to be kept in line or they are going to end up dead.
But how many of these commandments still apply today? All these rules were given to a group of people that had just left Egypt and didn't yet have the land that they were just given rules for, so should we still respect them today? And if so, which ones?
Honestly, I'm not sure any of them can be strictly applied to people today. These were the "commandments... commanded to Moses for the people of Israel". Those who take the Bible ultra-literal tend to ignore that part and then cherry pick from the commandments as to which should apply and which no longer apply.
I don't think you can do that. If you are going to follow these laws, you kind of have to follow all of them. I mean, sure, a lot of these are really great things you should be doing, and that's great if you choose to make them a part of your life. But to insist that others follow some of the laws while ignoring the whole in your own life isn't how it's supposed to work. If you're going to insist on making parts of this part of our modern legal code because "thus spaketh the Lord", then we really need to do all of it. Just my opinion.
Our reading end today with the first census. Now that we have our rules, we're going to count our people to see who is left before moving on. This gets really tedious and boring and I don't blame you if you read it the way I did, skimming over the names and numbers and just looking for any tidbits that continue our story.
And there are a couple things. The people were to redeem their firstborn children and animals. To do that would take an enormous number of sacrifices and possibly could have left them with a food shortage (I'm guessing). Instead, God accepted the family of Levi, the Levites, and put them in charge of the tabernacle. They became the priests, the ones that served God for a living. Then among the Levites, they were given specific duties regarding the tabernacle and it's care.
Tomorrow's reading: Numbers 4:29-11:35