Tuesday, January 02, 2007

No More Numbers

Last night I finished up the book of Numbers. As I reflected on the reading, I was struck by the oldness of the book. This account of the wandering tribes is ancient. The bible I am using has commentary and notes in it by Jewish scholars and theologians. It adds a different dimension to the insights of the texts. They write about the Torah as a whole, and Numbers in particular with a reverance and closeness rarely found with Christians. This is their heritage they are reading about. But as they comment on the ancient stories, one gets the sense that the way of life, and of relating to God, is from a long, long, long time ago.

God may still be the same today as he was a million yesterdays ago, but how he relates to humanity is different because humanity has changed, our culture has changed, our knowledge has increased - even if traits of the soul are still the same. I was struck by what seemed to be odd, archaic, barbarian rituals that God required of his people. But the people God was redeeming are from another lifetime, almost another world.

The bible has some very, very, very old stories in it. In our world's frenetic pace to try something new, maybe diving into something as old as the Bible may be the novelty that messes up our life - and saves us from our life.

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