Word for Wednesday…Details
“Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord commanded through Moses” (Leviticus 8:36).
For the past several weeks, many of our folks have been participating in the Immerse Bible Reading Experience. We are currently in the second volume, Beginnings, which contains the first five books of the Old Testament. We just concluded Leviticus, and for many of us, myself included, this is the first time reading through the entire book. One thing many people have remarked on are the details it contains. A similar observation was made about Exodus. Both of these books are full of the tiniest, most minute, and seemingly meaningless details. Details about the construction of the temple, details about the priestly garments, details about the elaborate sacrificial system, details about the religious festivals, and details about right and wrong behavior. If you’ve read Leviticus, you understand the significance of that three-letter word “all” in the passage quoted above. To say that “Aaron and his sons did all the things the Lord commanded,” is really saying something. All that we’ve been reading has reinforced the popular idiom, “God is in the details,” because as both of these books demonstrate, God seems to be very concerned with details. I imagine for some of us, we’ve also been reminded us of the later phrase that derived from it, “the devil is in the details,” because the incredible burden of remembering and following all these details seems to us Christians to almost border on evil. After all, Jesus set us free from all this by replacing all these details with two broad, simple, straightforward and sweeping decrees; he told us we need only to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves. It almost sounds like details no longer matter to God. But nothing can be further from the truth. It’s possible for us to take these two commands of Jesus and think of them so broadly that we overlook their very specific applications, and we can’t ignore the details if we wish to truly follow them. What I’m trying to say here is that one way we fulfill these commands to love God and love our neighbors are through tiny, minute, seemingly meaningless actions; a kind word spoken to an exhausted cashier at the grocery store, a phone call or a text to someone who is lonely, a letter of encouragement to someone going through a difficult time, or a few dollars given in support of some worthy cause. God and the devil may both be in the details, but so is love. In the details it can be both found and given.