Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Are All Sins Equal?

    Today's Reading:
  • Exodus 17:8 - 19:15
  • Proverbs 6:27 - 35
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Exodus 17:8 - 19:15
Moses and his people are now in the Sinai wilderness.  The first account of today's reading tells of how they fought the armies of the Amalekites.  The bible states that Moses told Joshua to gather an army to fight the men while Moses, Aaron and Hur climbed a mountain top. 

I'd like to stop briefly here for a quick question: Who is Joshua?  I think this is the first I have seen him mentioned.  I wonder if he is the same Joshua as is written in the book of Joshua?  I imagine he probably is, I just don't yet have a good enough frame of reference of the bible yet.

Moses had the task of raising his staff over his head as the battle raged on.  Whenever he lowered the staff his people would start to lose, and whenever he raised it they would again be winning.  The bible says that Hur and Aaron helped Moses keep his arms up as he became too tired.  Can you imagine?  Try keeping your arms up in the air for 15 minutes with nothing in them -- you would get extremely tired.  But the bible says that Moses held his staff above his head until sunset when the people of Israel won the battle.

Then Jethro (the father in law of Moses) came to visit Moses in the wilderness and to bring Moses his wife and children back.  I don't know at what point they were sent away, I don't recall reading anything about them being sent off. 

It also seems that Moses was trying to handle all the problems of the 600,000 men (plus women and children!) all on his own.  Jethro saw this and suggested to Moses that he teach others the decrees of God and then appoint leaders to groups of 1000, 100, 50 and 10.  Moses implemented that suggestion.  I imagine he was quite relieved after that point!

The story ends as the people of Israel prepare for God's coming to the base of the mountain.  God said that He would let all the people hear Him speak to Moses.  The Israelites were to spend the next three days in preparation. 

Proverbs 6:27 - 35
We read here that adultery will not be left unpunished by man.  Verses 31 and 32 say that thieves might sometimes have excuses -- they will have to pay back what they have stolen -- but they still might have an excuse (for example, they were starving).  But the adulterer destroys himself and will be utterly disgraced with shame that will never be erased (6:33).

I would like to note here the comparison between the sins of thieving and the sin of adultery.  I find it highly interesting how a distinction is made between the two, with the adultery being the higher crime. 

I know that other distinctions are made elsewhere in the bible for sins and their punishments; some come with death, others do not.  So there are levels of severity in sin.  This is significant to me because I have come from the thoughts that all sins are the same -- someone who steals is no less bad than someone who murders another.  I am not so sure that is the truth anymore. 

Of course any and all sin keeps us from the Lord and that is why we need the blood of Jesus Christ.  I realize that without question.  But I'll have to decide throughout my reading if sin has tiered severity -- not just in the eyes of humans, but in the eyes of God.

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