Goat Guidelines

Exodus 22-23


Today's reading provides a hodgepodge of laws and festivals but it also included these strange words:

"Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk."

That verse is found at least 3x in the Hebrew Scriptures and yet...do we need it? What does it mean? Who was it for? (I'm sure the goats appreciatted it!)

This week in the Wed Night discussion group someone asked if all of these laws should just be forgotten, do they matter? Truth told, I don't own a goat and I don't regulaly boil anything in milk, I don't know anyone who does. So, sure, if this is only to be considered from a literal point of view I may be able to write this one off until I encounter both a young goat and its mother. Even then I could use Jesus as an excuse to avoid considering what I might see here. I get it, if this verse is just about goats it seems mostly useless.

But...it might mean...

...Don't be cruell to animals. I could apply that today.

...or...be careful mixing foods, bacteria in milk can cause issues. I suppose that has some value.

...or...don't practice the idolotrous acts of your neighbors. That expands my applications a bit.

...or...don't punish the children for the sins of the parents. Well now, that could shape how I judge.

Or...maybe, just maybe, it isn't over spiritualizing to say this verse might mean:

Do not take what I intended to bring life and use it to bring death.

I can carry that interpretation with me every day--sans goats--so, maybe it isn't about goats and milk as much as it's about our human ability to use life giving things to bring about death.

Might that change this from an archaic confusing verse that I need to be legalistic about into a principle that stays true reagrdless of when and where I find myself? I don't own a goat, but I have words, I have a pulpit, I have my bible, I have my finances, I have my doctrine, I have my attitudes, I have my convictions, I have my actions, and much more. All of which I should be using to bring life, care, support, and love unto the next generation. How are we doing with that?

Keep reading.