Hope you all are managing to stay a bit cool during these stuffy days. Phew. The humidity is what gets me grumpy- haha. My parents are here (!), and the boys readily informed them that the heat makes them grumpy just like it does Mom. 😂🤷♀️ I will say (without hesitation) that I much prefer cooler days, but- summer and hot days are fairly short-lived here in New England,so we'll bear through it!
Anyways- how has your week been? Have you had sweet times with Jesus? I am recognizing more how I just crave that time alone with him- I need it. I certainly am trying to keep more in tune with him during the day (quick prayers, confession, thankfulness), but that early morning time where I just get to learn more about him is my favorite- it's like a really good "date"- if I can use that term.
This week in Leviticus- wow! I just am so excited to share this today. Leviticus 25- it's a rather lengthy chapter, compared to the other chapters in this book. The entire chapter discusses setting aside time for rest- rest for the people, rest for the land, and rest in our response and treatment of others. Let me explain- the first part talks about the land and work. Because of God's blessings of land and work and provision, the people were to commit days for rest. They also committed their land for rest. This required them to trust God with provision, as certain areas were to be left alone for a certain period of time. They could not use that area/land as commitment and trust in God to provide. The year of Jubilee was a year (50th) where the people would let all the fields rest in honor of God's provision for them. If you think about a strictly agrarian society, which the Israelites were, this had to have been a bit if a scary prospect as far as they were not able to have any harvest from these fields. They had to strictly trust God to provide their needs, as they honored him by resting. What an example for us. How readily can we trust God to take what he has abundantly provided for us and trust that he will provide the increase without us taking over? Not just with our possessions, but with our very lives?
In the second part of the chapter, it talks about people. People were sometimes bought or redeemed based on whether or not they were able to provide the proper sacrifices, couldn't afford to work their land without losing it, etc. (If someone was poor, a wealthier person could buy their field and the poor person would work the field until he could pay the proper amount for it.) This all seems pretty self-explanatory, except that God goes a bit further with all this. He tells the wealthy owners/redeemer that after a certain amount of time (the 50th year), even if the poor person had not paid back the entire amount, because of the year of Jubilee, the poor person would automatically receive their land and their freedom. Additionally, while the poor person was in debt to the other, the one who 'owned' him could not treat him with contempt or harshness, as one might consider slavery. Instead, going back to what I discussed last time, the individuals were to be treated as they themselves would wish to be treated.
As I was reading commentary on this passage, the over-arching theme emphasizes God's deliverance, provision, and love for his people. As God delivered them from slavery, provided food for them, fields and land for them, homes for them, thus showing over and over his great love for them, their response should have thus been to honor, respect, and love God in all aspects of their lives: work, home, relationships, etc. Furthermore, the parallel example here, particularly discussing granting freedom to the poor man in debt, refers to Christ making us free from sin. We are all enslaved to sin, paralleling the Israelites bondage in Egypt. But, Christ freed us from the penalty of sin and has made us his child, just as God tells the Israelites here in Leviticus 25: 38: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and so be your God."
Matthew Henry shares a beautiful commentary on this, using for reference, John 8:31-38, where Jesus proclaims to the disciples (and us!), that "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." His disciples argued that they had never been enslaved to anyone; Christ counters with the truth that "everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin". Therefore, says, Henry, "This [passage in Leviticus] typifies redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ whose truth makes us free. We cannot ransom our fellow sinners, but we may point out Christ to them [by how we treat them!]; while by his grace, our lives may adorn his Gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name."
You have been FREED, dear ones- if you are a follower of Jesus. And, our lives should be pointing others to the freedom we have in Christ- not to do whatever or to live however we want- but, in response to the great freedom from sin we have in Christ, we should then serve him out of our deep gratitude for his love for us. And, in that gratitude and service, we begin to love him more. And as we love him more, that love should be expressed in the way we treat others. We do not treat others with contempt or judgment because of their enslavement to sin. No. We love them because we can point them to the one who can make them free. In their enslaved state, they have no true hope, peace, joy, love. None of their efforts can provide that true freedom. And, for us to live in our freedom with ungrateful, complaining, prideful, and judgmental attitudes, continuing as though we were still slaves, is to deny others a glimpse of the freedom they could have in Christ (and it's a gross misunderstanding on our part of our previous enslavement!)!
Remember- not only is he the LORD-as I discussed previously- but, he is our Redeemer! Our Provider! Our Hope! Our Peace! Our Comfort! Our Joy! And so much, much more.
Meditate on these beautiful truths. Praise him for his redemptive work. Confess the sins which are continuing to cause you to live as though you are still enslaved. Ask him to show you the wonders of his love, his freedom, his hope and peace in providing for all your needs. Ask him to help you show his love to others and the freedom they can have only in HIM!
Additional song for meditation: