I recently read an article in Relevant Magazine about a guy who decided to live one entire year of his life following the Bible exactly. And we are not just talking New Testament here (as if that would not be challenging enough) but both books. I break “do not covet” and “be slow to anger” at least once a day, most of the time before lunch so this premise intrigued me. Could I ever really live out the Old & New Testament. Thankfully, we live in the age of grace and I know my sins have been paid in full. I cannot earn a place in heaven by anything I have done or can do. But, it just got me thinking; if God required it of me could i do it?
Living Old Testament laws seems impossible when I think about the adjustments one would have to make to follow the Jewish laws exactly. Just for example, never wearing clothes of mixed fibers. In our days of cotton-poly- spandex wonders even finding outfits would be difficult never mind they must be white (Ecc 9:8). What about staying away from everyone when you are menstruating or your spouse never being able to sit or lay on a bed where a menstruating woman has been (Lev15:20)? Jason would be sleepin’ on the floor!
This guy; Al Jacobs lived this way for a year and wrote a book called The Year of Living Biblically. He did not shave or cut his hair and even took a trip to Israel to learn how to shepherd. What was most interesting to me is why he chose to do this and what he learned. He is “officially Jewish” but using his words he was Jewish the way Olive Garden is Italian, not very. He decided he needed to see what was missing and wanted to study the Bible in a real way.
He discussed the rules that he learned the most from (keep the Sabbath and give thanks) along with the ones that were most difficult to follow (stone adulterers). He even pointed out the rules that he kept the entire year without violating once, “do not sacrifice your children to Molech” (Lev 20:5). At least sacrificing your kids to pagan gods is an easy one to keep!
A couple of quotes from the article resonated with me:
“I was surprised by how relevant much of the Bible’s ancient wisdom was to my 21st century life”
“I was surprised at how baffled I was at other passages”
“I was surprised by how the Bible revealed my flaws and challenged me to be a better person”
When I read scripture I feel all these things at different times. I am grateful that scripture is alive and can speak to us in the midst of our technology driven society. I am thankful that I do not have to follow there letter of the Old Testament Law that would lead me to death but rather I have the spirit of the law in me that leads to freedom.
“1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. ” (Romans 8:1-4).
While I will not be living away from the world like a leper when I am on my period anytime soon I thought this man’s journey was interesting and worthwhile pondering.