Do you remember that scene in The Prince of Egypt where Moses kills an Egyptian and flees to the wilderness? He goes to stop one of the taskmasters from beating a Hebrew slave, but accidentally sends the taskmaster plummeting off a scaffolding and kills him. Everyone sees the event, and Moses runs away into the desert. It’s a dramatic scene, but as it does elsewhere, the movie takes some liberties with the text it’s interpreting. It differs starkly from both the original account in Exodus and Stephen’s interpretation of it in his speech before the Council in Jerusalem.
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.
Like Numbers, Deuteronomy is much more spare in its mentions of the Sabbath than I expected. One of them we’ve already visited and revisited: it’s the reiteration of the Ten Commandments in chapter 5. And by now you’re familiar with the story: six days do your work, rest with your whole household on the seventh, remember you used to be a slave in Egypt. On to the next.
I remember a time in college when a friend volunteered to open the Christian Fellowship meeting with a prayer. The first words out of his mouth? “Our Mother, who art in Heaven.” It was like he’d dropped a bomb into the circle; even with my eyes closed, I could feel something shift in the room. After he finished praying, another member of the group quickly threw out a few conciliatory words about how God’s name “El Shaddai” referred to the Hebrew term for “breast,” but I remember thinking that God was masculine, not feminine, and that my friend’s invocation had been misled at best, possibly even out of line. I congratulated us on being such a charitable group to not require perfect theology from our “baby Christians.” Big pat on the back for us, right?