30 March 2010

Mar 30

Reference links:
Old Testament

God likes to test the Israelites every once in awhile just to see if they really love him. He must have self esteem issues.
If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul [physical and mental self].
God also has a zero tolerance policy towards those who try to entice the Israelites away from God.
Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in.
And it sucks to be anyone who lives in a town where some people have gone astray.
If you find that the report is true and such a detestable act has been committed among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the open square and burn it. Burn the entire town as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt.
If people in a town have actually been tempted away from God, the whole town must be destroyed? Remember, these are allegedly God's direct commands, and so, in my opinion, it is perfectly reasonable to apply modern standards to them. By any reasonable modern standards of morality, this is horrendous.

After that we get a description of which animals are clean or unclean. We also get discussions of tithing, the forgiving of debts every seventh year, the release of Hebrew slaves every seventh year, and God's dislike of imperfect animals. Much of this we have heard before. Repetition can be useful for learning, but I still wonder how short the Torah would be if all the repetition were removed. Half the size?

New Testament

Speaking of repetition, today we read the story of the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and was healed when she touched Jesus' robe. We also read that Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from death. Finally, we read about how Jesus sent out his disciples to teach and heal. All things we have read before.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of note today.