Oh, great. We’re not two verses into this chapter, and God–the same God whom we had established was speaking out loud about what not to do as his people and how to build altars–now starts talking about the proper keeping of slaves. Comedian Bo Burnham’s song from 2010 “Rant” immediately sprang to mind. Most of it is unfit to quote on this blog, as it’s Bo Burnham. But there’s a section where a hypothetical priest interprets the Old Testament passages about slavery as allegorical, referring to “slaves within our hearts,” and then Bo observes: “And then as God goes on to explain / The logistics of buying and selling slaves…” And worse, this isn’t the last time in the Torah that we’ll read a passage detailing the rights and obligations of the slave and slave-owner. To quote another song by Bo Burnham, I don’t think that I can’t handle this right now.
I’ve never celebrated Sukkot. Have you? Honest question. Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve ever celebrated it. And if you don’t know what it is, you’ve almost certainly never celebrated it, because it’s not the sort of holiday you’d observe by accident. It’s the Jewish Feast of Booths, and according to the instructions in Leviticus 23:33-43, it lasts eight days, and it requires you to build and live in a temporary shelter, the titular “sukkah.” It also requires you to take leafy branches and rejoice before the Lord. I doubt you’ve ever said to yourself, “Whoops! I just built a booth with at least three walls and a thatched roof and lived in it for seven days, holding a sacred assembly for the Lord on the eighth, and all week long I accidentally rejoiced with leafy branches and presented food offerings to the Lord,” but…where was I going with this? I honestly don’t know. Let’s find out.
There are roughly seven or eight bases in this chapter. It makes for a very weird game of baseball.
Welcome back to our study on thankfulness, “Totally Hip Gratitude.” Get it? It’s a play on attitude? Like cool–you know, forget it. Before returning to the minor prophets, we’re going to look at thankfulness in the Torah, like we intended to in the first installment of this series before we got distracted by portions of the Torah where any mention of thankfulness is conspicuously absent. And this time around? There’s gonna be more of my other favorite food, Biblical Hebrew, so crack open your Strong’s Concordance and let’s get to word-studyin’.
We interrupt your regularly-scheduled trip through the minor prophets to bring you a new series: Totally Hip Gratitude. In this study, we’ll examine the topic of thankfulness, and we’re going to intersperse installments of it between prophets. To kick the study off, we’re going to look at a few passages from Leviticus, as well as a few passages where thankfulness doesn’t directly come up.
The first part of today’s chapter reiterates the theme begun in the previous chapter: Christ’s sacrifice covers our sin once for all, a single act making restitution for humanity’s evils and failings. It does what repeated sacrifices of bulls and goats could not do. It pays for the misdeeds of the spirit, not merely those of the flesh. So, let’s get into the latter half of the chapter, where we will find things interesting and new.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s an extra-long post for today! This doodle comes to you courtesy of the generous sponsorship of Dwight Knoll via my Patreon.
Here’s David’s psalm of penitence again. I forgot to mention something yesterday, though. As I’m typing up these posts, I often stream Switchfoot’s album Where the Light Shines Through, front to back. As I was listing off the various “clean-related” words that David uses, I fired up the album, and the very first track came on: “Holy Water.” The song is as much about sanctification, being set apart for a purpose and receiving anointing with the “holy water” of the Holy Spirit, as it is about cleansing from sin. But with opening lines like “Wash the dust off dirty wheels, / Give me the waters that could help me heal,” I couldn’t help but be struck by the parallels. The confluence was in fact so striking that I forgot to mention it, whoops.
Today we flip back to the Triad study with a new theme and a new passage for the week. We’re looking at Psalm 51, which the authors of the study chose to illustrate God’s grace as it leads us to repentance, and which David wrote in response to his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. It’s a plea for cleansing and renewal, a desire to be set right.
Here’s your summary of Isaiah 34: the first half is a bloodbath and the second half is a wasteland. Put on your hip waders and let’s dig into the gritty details.