Questions – week of February 14th

questionsSo here are some questions from the sermon, but also off of facebook this week about our readings…..

  • From: Leviticus 24-25  Should be some good discussions on that one. The inherent contradiction opens some interesting ethical dilemmas.  Blasphemies are to be put to death.  Anyone that takes a human life is to be put to death.   Kind of a vicious circle there – unless one is excused because they are exercising the Word. In which case, well, we have lots of current-day examples of people doing as they feel they are commanded and “smiting in The Name,” don’t we???  Very interesting choice of passage!

It is interesting isn’t it?   First off Blasphemy and Murder are both listed in the 10 commandments.  Blasphemy coming on the list near the start above murder.  Blasphemy  comes third after having no other gods and not having idol worship.  Clearly we don’t see blasphemy as a capital punishment in our culture, but then again we don’t think God is a big deal in our culture either.

Do I think this is a vicious circle?  No.  That’s akin to saying that Capital punishment for murders is a vicious circle.    Murder is wrong. The punishment is murder.

Now – do I agree with the whole capital punishment thing?  Personally no, and I don’t fully understand the severity of the consequences.  Then again, I’m not living in those times and in that place.   What is clear is God is leading a people out of a foreign land and trying to give them a new identity as His people.   He has some strong expectations.

I also think the New Testament changes the rules in Leviticus for us somewhat.  We often separate them into moral code and religious code.   The New Testament brings grace through Jesus Christ.  A case in point, a woman caught in adultery is about to be stoned, and Jesus gets that to be stopped.   I don’t believe we are then entitled to capital punish anymore as Christians.   Jesus also ate with all sorts of sinners and bad people… and he loved them and their lives were changed.   I think as Christians we have to keep those things in mind as we read the Old Testament passages.    That said…. Murder and blasphemy are neither appropriate or acceptable.  I think the questions is how come our world and culture can normalize both things and why are we accepting of them?

 

  • why did God choose the Levities to serve Him and care for the Hebrew worship centre? Also why did God not give them any territorial allotment?

The reason the Levites were chosen is not a particularly nice story.   Essentially they were faithful in carrying out God’s judgment after Israel turned to idolatry and built a Golden Calf.  You can read about that in Exodus 32:26-29.  That is where we read they were set apart.

God gave them the temple as their allotment in some ways.  That was their responsibility.  Though the Levites were allowed to have cities and own houses (see Leviticus 25:32-34) and there would have been pastureland there.  SO I’m not clear entirely what they were allowed to have and not allowed.   The idea being that the priests, who would all be Levites, are dependent on God for all things.   Interesting enough that means the Levites were dependent on the rest of the Israelites to be faithful in their offerings.

  • So how long did it take to build the Ark? Knowing that the tools and processes were different than it is now.

So we’re not given specific dates, but some math can do us well to figure things out.  For instance Noah was  at least 500 (Genesis 5:32) when he had his first son.   We also know his kids were married when they went on the boat.  So he was 600 when the flood started.  So for having three kids, raising them and them getting married we can assume that Noah had anywhere between 60-80 years at the most to build the ark and potentially less time than that.

  • Is it 10% before or after income tax (gross or net)?

Personally I do net and then give from my tax return as well.   I think whether it’s gross or net is up to you.  I would say give out of faith so it’s a bit uncomfortable.  To me I don’t want to be legalistic about it – the point is to give out of faithfulness to God.

  • How in the darkest hour can you discern gods voice verses your own desires? How can you be obedient when you cant know what god is saying to you.

The phrase that comes to mind with this questions is “The Dark Night of the Soul”.   I’ve known several people to go through times like this and found God silent.   Yet they knew and believed God was there.  So they were faithful to God in prayer and in scripture.  They waited.  That was hard.   Yet somehow through the darkness eventually they herd from God.  In the meantime they kept their hearts on God, and lived life the way Jesus calls us too. They relied heavily on other believers and other family as well.    I can’t explain why some people go through these storms when God seems silent…. But I can tell you we know God is faithful.  Those who have gone down this path will affirm that and affirm that eventually the dark night passes.