It is my birthday this week. And in that vein, I look to the immortal words of the rapper 50-cent (at least the ones that I can quote here): “Go shawty, it’s your birthday. We gon’ party like it’s your birthday. We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday . . . “.
50-cent’s song goes on to expound on the self-indulgent perspective that so many in our culture hold to as Gospel truth. It’s about me, about what I can get and get away with. It’s about hedonism and debauchery, self-interest and instant gratification. Contrast that with the code given to the Israelites in Leviticus 19:16-18, and you find a different perspective. The code reads: Do not slander or speak against your neighbor. Do not hate your neighbor, but reason with him. Do not take vengeance on your neighbor, but love him. This is the not the code of our world. You don’t need to look to 50-cent to figure that out. Watch the news, go to the playground, take a walk on campus – as humans, we are much more aligned with the Gospel of 50-cent, the Gospel of ME.
That is perhaps why God “signs His Name” after each of these codified demands of human kind. After every insertion of code, you find the words “I am the LORD”. This code is not our code, it is His. We would make it all about us, He made it all about our neighbor. And then He showed us how serious He was when He “signed His Name” on the Cross, dying there for His creatures – not for Himself, but for others. That code that He lived out and died out is reason to celebrate, even if it’s not your birthday.