Friday, May 11, 2012

120511 - Numbers 34-35 - "I the LORD dwell in the midst..."

Friday SOAP: The Lord sets forth the bounds of Canaan, both physically (Num. 34:1-35:8) and spiritually. (Num. 35:9-34) The way He does so links the standard with His own nature, a striking conflict with our modern way of thinking. Isn't morality based on whatever we agree is best for a society? As long as it doesn't hurt anybody, you're OK, right? An older version went a different way: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." Doesn't that sound wise? Where does that quote come from?


S: Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest. You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” (Numbers 35:31-34)

O: As they're preparing for the conquest of Canaan, God explains the law of manslaughter and here provides the grounds for that law. God will not dwell among a people who tolerate murder or make no provision for the rights of victims. Even the unintentional manslayer is incarcerated in the way in which the people are capable of confining someone.

A: God is the grounds of all law. Murder's penalty is established because God made man in His image. (Gen. 9:6) Vengeance is under legal restraint because God says, "Vengeance and retribution belong to Me." (Deut. 32:35/Rom. 12:19) and "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD." (Lev. 19:18)

The source of the quote summing up humanistic grounds for morality: Wicca - and the occultist Aleister Crowley.

If this is the case, why is the popular grounds for most people's morality, "as long as it doesn't hurt anybody?" What are a few things that many people believe fall under this category?

  • Flattery
  • Cheating on taxes
  • Pornography
  • Premarital Sex
  • Homosexuality
  • Suicide/Assisted Suicide

To show how deeply rooted our humanistic standards for morality are, we usually start thinking about how these sins DO hurt people, albeit in subtle ways. They do, but to build arguments for classifying them as immoral because of those reasons (against which anecdotes and statistical surveys are constantly being mustered) misses the point the Lord makes here. "You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell."

P: Lord, this clearly shows the purpose of hearing from you daily, that you may wash me by the Word and renew my mind by recalibrating it to yours. To be carnally minded, humanistically minded, is death. To be spiritually minded is life and peace.

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