“ Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.
Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.
Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.
Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.” ~Deuteronomy 22:9-11
My husband and I have been teaching a teen group this month about the Law; a basic overview of what it was and what its purpose was. Sounds like it might be boring for teens, but we got to talk about some pretty gross stuff, and teens like that! (Or at least it keeps their attention somewhat.)
We talked about the main purpose of the law being a mirror, to show us our sin and to reveal the rebellion of our hearts as Paul describes in Romans 7, but on a side note we talked about how the many many practical laws given in addition to the Ten Commandments were largely given for Israel’s (and all people’s) protection.
For example, they did not know about bacteria back then (this is where it started to get
gross interesting), but by following God’s detailed instructions for dealing with human waste, they would be protected against many possible diseases. The instructions God gave them were utterly contrary to the ways of Egypt, which were all manner of unsanitary. I will not go into the gory details, but learning more about Egypt’s medical practices in particular has really made me appreciate Leviticus and Deuteronomy a whole lot more and made me understand why it was necessary for God to spell out such specific instructions about so many things.
I read the story of the man in Germany in the 1800s , who discovered the importance of doctors washing their hands between doing autopsies and examining live patients. Then how he discovered that disease was also being spread from live patient to live patient. He ended up going crazy because no one would believe him as the concept of bacteria or disease being spread from person to person was completely foreign. I read how centuries before God had spelled out clear instructions about hand washing and not touching dead bodies. He gave these instructions to save lives.
It’s both sad and exciting to see how what it took humanity thousands of years to discover, God had already given to us, not only in sanitation and health but also in agriculture and all areas of life.
So as I read Deuteronomy 22, of course my mind is now trying to analyse every law and see if I can figure out why God may have given that law. But I was stopped in my tracks as I remembered the whole point and application of the lessons about these laws:
To obey, even when we do not understand, trusting that God is all knowing, and that God is good.
Seeing in retrospect many of the “whys” of God’s laws teaches me that even when I don’t understand why God does what He does, He is trustworthy.
So I cited the verses above from Deuteronomy 22 because my husband, the gardener, explained to me why different types of grape seeds sewn in the same vineyard could cause inbreeding depression and truly eventually destroy the crop, but I have no earthly idea why linen and wool woven together should not be worn, and that is more than okay.
If only I knew just how little I know, surely I would walk more humbly with my God! I do not want to be like Egypt, thinking I have all the answers while truly I’m only spreading disease like it’s going out of style.
I want to trust and obey, and look forward to the day when my faith is made sight. What a sight it will be!