I'm still marching full steam ahead with my Bible 365 Challenge. As Steve Harvey would say, "He ain't through with me yet!" I've definitely been learning some things. Week 4's reading was Leviticus chapters 1 through 27. And the book of Leviticus, written by Moses, got its name because Aaron and his sons were from the tribe of Levi. God appoints them to be priests of the Israelites.
This particular book of the Bible focused on establishment of the different offerings (burnt, grain, fellowship, etc), the ordination of Aaron and his sons and regulations and laws from the Lord. When it came to offerings every family had to offerings you had to bring the best of the best of whatever you were going to offer. For example, if you were offering up a goat or sheep for a burnt offering it couldn't have a blemish or spot on it. The purpose of this was to symbolize the cleaning of the slate for their sins. Once forgive they became blemish-free in the eyes of God.
And you know how some of us like walk on the wild side and eat adventurous food like squid and crocodile? Well, the Israelites had a list of forbidden or unclean foods that included pork, shell fish, and rabbit. Can you imagine being forbidden to eat smothered pork chops or fat back? And in the summer time, many of us would be going crazy if the only sea food we could was fish. I don't know about you but I love my blue crabs! However, I would give them up if God said I had to.
Other foods on the list I thought made sense like camel, eagles, vultures, bat and insects (except grasshoppers). Also, if you touched any of these forbidden animals you were considered unclean until the evening. You had to bath and wash your clothes. And of course Leviticus 7:26-27 says, "Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast. Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people."
No rare or medium rare back then. The juices that ran from the meat could not be red. That would have been fine by me because I prefer all my meat well done anyway. And when it came to pregnancy, if a woman had a son she had to wait 33 to be purified and 66 days if she had a girl. Before your time was up you weren't allowed to go to the sanctuary and you weren't allowed to have sex. But those aren't long periods of time because six weeks is the time recommended by doctors to allow your body to heal and get back to normal in today's society.
One thing I wouldn't have wanted to have back them was an infectious disease. Leviticus 13:45-46 says, "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp." Imagine having to trade in your Steve Maddens for house slippers and your Gucci for a potato sack. Yes, I would have been a bigger cleaning freak back then trying to keep any germs out of my house.
Something else I found interesting was Leviticus 15:18, "When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening." So, you pretty much had to get all your sex in at one time. If you were going to give a burnt offering or a sin offering that next day, you and your household had to be "clean." Some of us would be up a creek for real.
Did you know tattoos were forbidden too? Yep, it's right there in Leviticus 19:28, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves." And mean couldn't shave their sideburns or trim the edges of their beards according to Leviticus 19:27. And you know how that Long Island Medium show on TLC? Well, if you saw her coming your way you'd better head the opposite way because seeking out mediums and spiritists got your exiled and being known as a medium or spiritists could get you stoned!
A spanking for kids who talk back and curse their parents doesn't seem so bad in today's society considered to what the punishment was back in Moses' day. "If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to DEATH. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head," according to Leviticus 19:9.
Cheating was also punishable by death back then too. I wonder how Tiger Woods and Jesse James would have survived being that they both claimed to suffer from sex addiction? And priests were allowed to get married contrary to popular belief. They had to marry virgins only though. Also, if you killed somebody there was no life on death row with cable tv and free meals. You were automatically sentenced to death.
Know that famous eye for an eye quote everybody says? That's Leviticus 24:19-20, "If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured." God wasn't playing when He commanded them to love their neighbors as themselves!
What I liked most is Leviticus 25:35, "If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you." At the end of the day, charity and being good to others is what it's all about. This verse made me think about all these families that we still have struggling due to the decline of the economy and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. This verse is exactly why I'm always going through my belongings and donating to the charities in my neighborhood.
I'm so blessed when it comes to material things like having shelter, food, clothes and transportation but Leviticus 25:35 reminds me that others don't have these luxuries. Thus, you and I should be then become that blessing and become a bridge to help them achieve that blessing by doing what we can.
What is your favorite way to giveback or help those less fortunate?