Reading Leviticus With Attention Deficit Disorder

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    February 26, 2016

                      “Reading Leviticus With Attention Deficit Disorder”

I’ve often thought I was ADD! Fidgety…restless…hard to stay focused. In seminary I would have to read my systematic theology books out loud to try to stay on track…and assist me in the understanding of what was being written about.

And now I’m about to finish reading through the book of Leviticus. It is an exercise in “literary rowing.” I’m like one of those oarsman who is trying to stay focused on the number of strokes he and his team are executing each minute. Row…row…row! The finish line is 3000 meters ahead…row…row…row!

Except I’m in Leviticus…”If someone has a swelling, he shall…if someone has a rash, he shall…if someone has a white spot, he shall…if someone has a skin disease, he shall…”

By the tenth skin condition I begin to itch! By the end of the second chapter about skin conditions and uncleanness I’m finding it difficult to continue with the literary rowing.

And then a couple of chapters later we get into sex! Actually, unlawful sexual relations. Read Leviticus 18. It’s a little disturbing to have to be told that you aren’t to have sex with your aunt…or your dad’s other wife.

Leviticus reads like one of those Apple product’s terms of agreement files that seem to go on forever. You know the ones I’m talking about…and at the end you’re to clip on the box that says you have read and agree to the terms. Who reads that stuff?

Leviticus is similar, but with the added spiritual element that convicts you to stay the course.

Why did God have to be so specific? Why was he so repetitious in his explanation of the expectations of his holy people, and what was not acceptable?

Two things occur to me! One is that the Israelites had a tendency to be ADD in their conduct. They seemed to be prone to forget what they were to be about and what they were to abstain from. They had short memories and shorter attention spans. Better explain it over and over again so they could finally hear it.

And second, the community of God’s people needed to be holy. Uncleanness, in any form, was to be atoned for or cast out. A community couldn’t be close to God and be marginal in how it was living.

Today I’ll finish the book! I’m sure God will say a few things he has already said once again just so that I will hear it. After Leviticus I’m going to go back and pick up one of my seminary systematic theology books and start reading to myself again…and nap!

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