Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

My hair has always been a source of consternation for me. When I was a little girl, I had hair that would not hold a curl, though I desperately wanted curly hair.  I remember a time I slept in curlers then emptied almost an entire bottle of hairspray on my head, only to have the curls fall out 15 minutes later.

Whether it be "triangle hair" in my teenage years (imagine this shape formed from my hair frizzing out in a nice triangular shape towards my shoulders), finding the right style for my face shape, those pesky white hairs that made their appearance during each of my pregnancies, or a scalp condition that has plagued me, you can probably begin to understand why my hair has been such a source of consternation.

Needless to say, I've tried many types of shampoo over the years.  Recently, while reading the directions on a bottle, I was struck by the term which has now become cliché:  Lather, rinse, and repeat. The tagline of the brand I am currently using even says 'The tingle tells you it's working.' As my head had stopped tingling when it was good and lathered, I started thinking that it was time to switch brands yet again. So I looked at the directions: was there some sort of human error preventing it from being effective? Was I supposed to leave it lathered for a few minutes before rinsing?

And there was that one word in the directions: Repeat.

I, of course, had only been lathering and rinsing, one time per shower. Surely repeating that process was only a marketing gimmick designed so you use more product and have to purchase another bottle sooner. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try before buying a new brand of shampoo. Believe it or not, the tingle that told me it was working came back.

I have been going through the Bible on a chronological plan, and I recently started one of the three hardest books for me to get through: Leviticus (the other two being Numbers and Deuteronomy). I feel bad saying that they are difficult for me. I claim to love God, yet there is a part of His Word that I dislike. I have to fight my flesh that tells me reading should be for amusement or entertainment.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
— 2 Timothy 3:16

This Scripture reminds me that even the hard-to-read sections of the Bible should not be passed over; instructions for the temple layout or the designation of clean or unclean foods are still a part of Scripture and is profitable. While my eyes can still glaze over while I'm reading (something I pray against and try to stay vigilant to avoid), the conversations I have with my husband or friends when we discuss our readings are almost always fruitful and enjoyable.

I have read the entire Bible before, a handful of times, but it always seems a daunting task when I first approach the idea.  Just because I have read every book of the Bible at least once does not mean that I am done gleaning from its pages. The depth of wisdom and knowledge contained within God's Word is without end.

Proverbs says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction,” and to “get wisdom, and get understanding.” Then, King Solomon further hits the nail on the head by explaining that “there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.”

God knows that Gentiles, adopted into His family, would have difficulty seeing the need to read about Levitical laws that have never and would never apply to them, yet the Old Testament is still included in the Bible.

Paul uses the Levitical law of not muzzling an ox in his letter to the Corinthians to make an application I never would have drawn about paying those whose work is in ministry.  If the apostle Paul can take an Old Testament passage and make a New Testament application, surely I can do the same: things from the New Testament are not “new,” but may have roots in Old Testament writings.

For example, in Leviticus, Nadab and Abihu had the appearance of godliness: a desire to offer incense to the Lord. But the Lord had not commanded them to perform such an offering, so they were burned with fire from the Lord and died. One New Testament application of this is in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira made a freewill offering to God from the sale of a possession, but they only laid a portion from that sale at the feet of the apostles then lied about the sum gained from the sale. By all outward appearances, the couple made a considerable offering that was not required and they probably looked well in front of their neighbors for the donation they were making.  But, both the Old Testament and the New Testament examples here show that only having the appearance of godliness, or doing things in our own way or power, is very wrong. 

We are warned in 2 Timothy about perilous times in the last days and how men will have “the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 

Making connections between Scripture passages is sometimes easy, and sometimes not as easy, depending on my situation and the Scripture I am examining. Drawing connections between scripture, Old or New testament, never ceases to amaze me. Even more amazing, the same Bible that Paul referenced is still applicable to me today.

When I was a new Christian, I loved reading God's Word. Maybe I didn't read it straight through, and maybe I focused on the New Testament more than the Old, but it brought a tingle to my spirit to know that those words were written for me, and that they had a deep and rich meaning specifically for me.

Reading the Bible is not a one-and-done type of thing; by all means lather and rinse. But don't forget to repeat.

Guest author Laura Barton and her husband Tim have been working hard this summer on their newly purchased fixer-upper.  While the bathroom is still under renovation, there isn't much shampooing going on there yet. Laura does loves to read more than shampoo labels, although these days she spends most of her time reading to her seven little ones more than for her own enjoyment.  Laura has decided to embrace the white hairs that she used to pluck out.  Her hair still hasn't decided if it wants to be straight, curly, or frizzy, but she has, fortunately, learned proper styles to avoid "triangle hair".