I’ve been watching a series on Netflix, and one storyline follows a mom trying to mom her teenage daughter with tough love, or busy love, I guess you could call it. The teenager, as teenagers do, keeps getting into trouble, sometimes inadvertently but still trouble nonetheless, so the mom enrolls the daughter in a flurry of extracurricular activities to keep her busy with good stuff and out of the way of bad stuff. In response, the girl goes to her extracurriculars, where she meets a whole new group of friends and throws a huge drinking party to impress them. Eventually, the daily extracurricular activities start wearing her out so much, she starts ditching them just to sneak in some sleep. I feel like Chapter 4 is going to turn out kind of like this. God issues these rules in order to keep the Israelites from sinning. He makes the penalty for sinning super tough in order to keep His chosen people pure and sinless because God knows how much sin hurts us. Unfortunately, we humans sin every time we open our eyes, and if the Israelites were being honest, then they were making sin offerings daily, if not hourly! 🙂 And Aaron would have been a busy man slicing and dicing and burning and carrying all these carcasses day in and day out, which may have been God’s plan in the first place: “Keep them too busy to sin, and we’ll have nothing to worry about!” I think that was the mom’s intention in the tv series, too. I know I’ve handed my fair share of weird punishments and rules out just to keep my teenagers’ minds off doing things they shouldn’t, and I admit my strategy has backfired more times than not. I can tell my teenagers to do things all day long, but sometimes they just say, “Meh. I’m not doin’ that.” I think the Israelites eventually copped this attitude also. If we were still dutifully slaughtering our best animals, I might think differently, but we’re not. And that’s only because of God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice. You know, even when I get annoyed with my kids because they WILL. NOT. LISTEN. TO. ME., there eventually comes a time when I just have to say, “Ok, do it your way,” and stand back and love them through it, oftentimes watching from afar but always being available if they ever have questions or need a helping hand, and always, always, always waiting with open arms when they run back my way. That’s just a glimpse of how God’s grace works with us. Let’s be thankful for God’s leniency and forgiveness and always remember what Jesus did so that we don’t have to keep ourselves busy by sacrificing our best bulls everytime we mess up.
Writing prompt: be thankful
Chapters like this are kind of hard to fathom when you’re sitting in your air-conditioned condo sipping a hot (more like room temperature) cup of coffee and typing on a wireless keyboard. I said a little prayer before reading today (which I often forget to do!) and asked the Holy Spirit to highlight something from this chapter because I knew before I started that I was going in thinking, “Urg. More instructions!” The word I got was “thankfulness,” specifically thankfulness for Jesus that we don’t have to make these kinds of sin and peace offerings anymore. For our sins, we can simply ask forgiveness, and for our peace offerings, we can pray before meals and dedicate all our mealtimes to Him. In that way, we share mealtime with Him just as the grain and peace offerings were meant to do. What are you thankful we don’t have to do anymore because of what Jesus did for us? Write a thank you letter to Jesus, and let him know how much his sacrifice means to you.