Sorry it has been so long since I've posted. The past ten days have been crazy. On Monday I finished up my finals and submitted the last of my assignments for the semester. The rest of the week was spent getting reoriented to a life devoid of homework; it was joyful!
But now I'm back - but I'm behind on my Scripture reading. I just finished Numbers 5-9 this morning. I'm almost two weeks behind. It'll probably be next week when I'm caught up.
Here's some interesting observations I found while reading through Numbers 5-9 (the insights come from the commentary section of the Bible I am using - a Jewish version of the Torah, it is reallly neat).
For the section about the nazarite: "The sin for which the nazarite brings an offering of atonement would the be the sin of seeing the pleasures of God and the world as a source of evil and temptation."
One talmudic sage (the talmud is a book of writings on the torah) wrote what I thought was a fascinating comment in regard to the issue of pleasure and evil: "In the world to come, people will have to account for all the good food God put in the world which they refused to eat."
In chapter six we read about a blessing which the priests would invoke on behalf of the people; the commentary made it clear that God was the source and power of the blessing, the priest was the mediator/conduit/mouthpiece for the blessing; it is a three line, memorable blessing:
May the LORD bless you and protect you!
May the LORD deal kindly and graciously with you!
May the LORD bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!
This was what the priest would say to the people: as Christians we are considered all priests of the LORD, thus we are able to bless others, to use the above prayer to bring God's best to those around us - oh how our world needs Blessers!
Chapter 9 ends with comments on celebrating the Passover - remembering the Exodus from Egypt. One writer states: "Every Shabbat (Sabbath) and Holy Day (holiday) is a remembrance of the Exodus." I thought that this idea provided insight into our preparation for Christmas.