Already Seen

     When reading the Old Testament, I often feel like a goldfish in a bowl swimming in a circle. It seems as if I am drifting past the same scenery repeatedly. It’s déjà vu all over, again.
     The two-book volumes of Samuel and Chronicles are particularly repetitive. Both authors share the similar stories of Saul and David’s exploits. Repetition is not a bad thing. Athletes repeat the same exercises to keep their bodies fit. Musicians play recurring scales to fine tune their craft (pun intended).
     I learned something long ago that I’ve never forgotten. Each of us needs to be reminded of things we already know. Like a dripping faucet, our memories tend to leak.
     I am a fan of the CBS crime series NCIS. Jethro Gibbs is the head of a naval team that investigates military-related crimes. Jethro lives by a code of conduct that are known famously as Gibb’s Rules. For example:
          Rule Four Best way to keep a secret. Keep it to yourself
          Rule Five You don’t waste good
          Rule Eight Never take anything for granted
          Rule Fifteen Always work as a team
          Rule Twenty-eight When you need help, ask.
     Each of Gibb’s team members know these rules by heart. Each team member ensures that his or her memory continually is being refreshed.
     The writers of the Old Testament were no dummies. They understood the human need for repetition. Jews were expected to memorize God’s rules, otherwise known as the Torah.
     The New Testament is no different. The writers of the gospel and Paul repeated many of the core values of Jesus. Values that are intended to be learned, reviewed, and enacted. Here are my top ten:
          Be patient toward others
          Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
          Forgive even as you have been forgiven
          Judge not so that you won’t be judged
          Do not lust
          Avoid troublemakers
          Do not retaliate
          Do not lay up treasures on earth
          Do all things without murmuring or disputing
          Love one another.
These are good words to live by. Lest we never forget.