Sometimes the most unusual phrases capture my attention.
Reading through the Old Testament the other day, I ran across the command, “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” I was immediately struck by those words. I have been unable to shake them from my mind. In particular, I’ve been contemplating how this phrase relates to the recent passage of a law in the State of New York legalizing—and indeed, actually celebrating—third trimester abortion.
Wondering if I understood the passage rightly, I went to multiple sources and, of course, received multiple interpretations as to the meaning. Learning that this phrase appears not one, but three times, in the Old Testament, I also found that it appears in different contexts. While some consider it to be a mistake in the translation of the text, others suggest that it is written in reaction to a pagan ritual, while still others see it as comparable in usage to “how much more” statements which are made in both the Old and New Testaments. (I will be working off of the premise of the “how much more” perspective.)
“How Much More” Applied
One example of Jesus’ “how much more” statements occurs in Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount. There, Jesus tells his hearers to consider the lilies of the field—and how God cares for them. “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?” In other words, “If God cares for his creation as a whole, how much more does he care for every one of his image bearers?”