Meditation on Leviticus 19

Kevin J Youngblood
 

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 19:9-10)

Admittedly, Leviticus 19 is an odd collage of commandments. What exactly holds these miscellaneous laws together such that they have some kind of coherence is not at all clear upon a first (or maybe even a second or third) reading. The instructions offered here range from the sublime (You shall lover your neighbor as yourself, 19:18) to the mundane, bordering on the arbitrary and incomprehensible (Peace offerings MUST be eaten on the same day they are offered or at the latest, the day after. Nothing left of it is to be eaten on the third day, 19:5-7).
 
There is, however, a thread of continuity running throughout the chapter.

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Meditation on Psalm 56

Kevin J Youngblood
 

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.

What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56)

I am often disarmed by the childlike faith of the psalmists. When I come across passages like the one above, I ask myself, can it really be that easy? The psalms make it sound so simple. When afraid, just trust in God. Then you will not be afraid any longer. After all what can mere flesh do to you? With regard to that last question, I can produce a long list of what flesh can do to me including my own.

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Meditation on 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

Kevin J Youngblood
 

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.”

Paul’s words to his beloved brothers and sisters in 1 Thess 2:19-20 are striking. Elsewhere Paul suggests that nothing other than Christ is his hope, his glory, his cause for boasting (Col 1:27; Gal 6:14). Yet here Paul dares to suggest that he boasts in those whom he converted to Christ in Thessalonica. They, he asserts, are his glory and joy. How can both be true? Is Paul here stooping to counting heads, to tallying up the number of baptisms under his belt? This seems unlikely given his apparent lack of concern for such matters, a lack of concern underscored by his apparent forgetfulness of whom or how many he baptized in Corinth (1 Cor 1:14).


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Meditation on Psalm 45:1

Kevin J Youngblood
 

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;

I address my verses to the king;

my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. (Psalm 45:1)

From heart to tongue. Such is the trajectory set by the opening line of Psalm 45. The alignment of heart with tongue, I have found, is not a natural nor an easy one. More often than not, the tongue is a veil behind which the heart hides, trying desperately to disguise its wickedness. The psalmist, however, seems prepared for his tongue to publish the true thoughts of his heart like the pen of a ready scribe.

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A Meditation on Exodus 28:1-4

Kevin J Youngblood
 

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. (Exodus 28:1-4)

When YHWH instructs Moses regarding preparations for the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests, he gives some pretty specific criteria for their official clothing. These are precisely the kinds of details that I usually skip over in my Bible reading, but tonight, thankfully, I didn’t and I received an unexpected blessing. I noticed the emphasis God placed on the glory and beauty of these garments. God told Moses to make holy garments “for glory and for beauty.” YHWH goes on to instruct Moses to speak to “all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill.” God actually had a team of tailors and seamstresses to whom the Spirit had given special skill and artistry for the designing and production of priestly vestments!


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A Meditation on Psalm 25:14

Kevin J Youngblood
 

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,

and he makes known to them his covenant. (Psalm 25:14)

The biblical concept of “the fear of the LORD” has long fascinated and often confused me. I was reminded of this fascination this morning as I read Psalm 25:14. What kind of foundation for friendship is fear? At first blush, this sounds like the beginning of a very unhealthy relationship. Of course, the problem is that we cannot seem to overcome our own cultural understanding of the word “fear.” I like to think of it this way. The term “the fear of the LORD” is an irreducible concept. That is to say that it cannot be understood by simply adding up the sum of its parts. The fear of the LORD is not simply fear + of + the + LORD. It is very much like the word “butterfly.” “Butterfly” cannot be understood in terms of butter + fly. Such an approach would be entirely misleading. Yet, those for whom English is a second language must surely think “butterfly” an odd designation for the particular insect so designated in English.
 
The fear of the LORD has nothing to do with the kind of terror, dread, and avoidance associated with the English word “fear.”

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