The Moon: Romantic or Judgment?

The Moon startled me this morning–an orange disk hovering over the horizon. In the afternoon I drove eastward with the moon high in the sky and remembered a walk my intended and I took one night in our dating days. She looked up, saw the Moon, and asked if I could see the Man-in-the-Moon.

I never really had. I looked at it and described what I–a man in love–did see:  a young woman with long hair flowing back in the breeze, carrying a picnic basket before her, with her long dress trailing behind as she strides forward to meet her love. My young woman loved that!

Today I see the Young-Woman-with-Picnic-Basket, and I see the Man-in-the-Moon, a face looking down sadly on a world full of sin.

But the Moon was not always sad. Between Genesis and the Flood the Moon was pristine, a clear face reflecting the Sun to its utmost.

When the fountains of the deep opened, water and rock shot into space creating comets, asteroids, and meteors. Some of these scarred the Moon into its saddened countenance. This scarring was one effect of God’s judgment on a world full of sin.

Every generation alive was washed off the surface of the Earth and swept into their muddy graves–their just deserts served by the rejected Righteous One. One family was saved in the Ark. The Moon looks sadly down to remind all the descendants of that righteous judgment.

By displaying the past, the Moon warns us of the coming judgment: “God is just! Sin requires judgment!”

And the Young-Woman-With-Picnic-Basket calls out with love and hope and a future, “Therefore abandon sin and run to His grace and mercy! Run to the only salvation available! Run to the cross of Christ, accept Jesus’ death as yours, that His life may be yours!”

Truly, the Gospel is in the sky.

What do you see in the Moon?

Don’t Boil Goats

A 2 month old goat kid in a field of capeweed

“Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.” Exodus 23:19b KJV. Translate to modern English: Do not boil a baby goat in its mother’s milk.

What? Why does God command this?

This command is the last phrase God gives in the moral Law–the ten commandments and its unpacking–which is still God’s instruction for our morality and ethics (the moral Law is entirely separate from the ceremonial and sacrificial law which in its attempt at atonement foretold, and finally was replaced by, Jesus’ sacrificial death).

The Jews took this command as instruction to keep dairy and meat separate, and voila we have the basis of kosher law. If it were that important to keep dairy and meat separate, I think God would have made it more explicit.

What was God communicating to the Hebrews, and now to us, with this phrase as the final proclamation of the moral Law?

What if this verse is a proverb, a saying, perhaps even common in the day? What principle does it teach? What is God saying by giving the moral Law and finishing off with this proverb?

If you boil a baby goat in his mother’s milk, what do you get? A dead baby goat. To get an adult goat the milk is applied inside the baby goat, not outside.

Was boiling in milk a cleaning method? Apply a life-substance externally with heat … you might get a very clean baby goat, but it’s still going to be dead.

What if the point is not what you get, but what you do not get? And what do we not get?

You do not get an adult goat.

You do not get a lamb.

You cannot apply life-substance and heat to a baby goat to clean it up into being a lamb. Remember Jesus’ parable of judgment day and separating the sheep from the goats–we want to be the sheep welcomed into heaven, not the goats condemned to hell.

I think this is the essence of what God is saying: “I give you My moral Law, now take it into your hearts and be changed–grow up into My character, be like Me. Application on the outside is not going to work, it must be on the inside. I want to change you from goats to sheep, and here is my moral Law to help you understand the goal. But it has to be an internal change, not an external clean-up. Take My words to heart.”

And yet we cannot do it. We are incapable. Our best efforts result in self-righteous Pharisee-ism.

So comes the rest of God’s message: “And struggle with this impossible task, for you cannot keep My Law. You cannot become like Me in your own efforts. You will fall short. And that is the point. You must see that only I can change you from being goats to being sheep. You must see your need for a Savior. So see your need, and come to Me and ask My help. For I am the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. I came into the world, kept the moral Law living perfectly, and died for your sin, thus providing the way of salvation, enabling you to be like Me. If you ask I will give you atonement and justification, impute righteousness to you and sanctify you. Come to Me, and I will give you rest.”

That’s what I’m getting out of it. How about you?

Who knew God would summarize the entire gospel message with, “Don’t boil goats in their mother’s milk”?!