Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sabbath Rest and Jubilee

Jeff and I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to use our blessings to bless those in need.  This has been a much discussed topic lately and then we find ourselves in Leviticus and reading about sabbath rest and Jubilee.  These are not just words written for the children of Israel oh so long ago.
They are the living words of God that were written long ago for all those who would read them through the ages. 
They are words that were written for you and me.
I think our culture tends to believe we deserve rest.  We deserve our vacation time, our trips. 
I think we spend enormous amounts of time, money, and energy planning vacations and trips so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. 
Oh, the planning.  The planning is so much fun, isn't it?  You read up on historical hot spots and lovely hotels and map out the best route.  You find local restaurants you "must" check out and attractions your kids just have to see!"
I am not so sure that is what God would really have for us.  I am not so sure that is how we should be spending our time "off."
To be honest, I am a little nervous about even expressing these thoughts.  I do not want to held accountable for them!  We really like to travel.  We love to explore new places and experience new things.  We love to camp and fish and indulge in the great outdoors.
I do not want to give that up.
But we are only given one life.  We are given one life by a God who provides for us just what we need.  And perhaps He is wanting us to help Him provide for those who are in need.  Perhaps we would not see so many "in need" if we let go of all the extras in our life. Can you even imagine?
(I just deleted a rant about all the "stuff" we could give up in order to care for those in need.  You all know that rant.  You've either ranted about it yourself or have listened to someone else rant about it....no need to go there in this post)
We know a family who is spending their vacation time going on a missions trip.  They are taking their children and are going to minister to orphan children and work in a children's camp in the mountains. 
Isn't that just lovely?
Those kids will not get to experience Mickey Mouse this summer.
They will experience something so.much.more.
They will experience God's blessing and provision as God uses them to bless and provide for those kids.
And that is way cooler than riding the Giant Drop at Great America.
I read on in Leviticus and this is what the Lord said:
You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.
 You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD.
 If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out,
 then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
What an amazing passage!
Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
Isn't THAT what Leviticus has been all about?  It has been about God preparing the Israelites for HIS plan to dwell among them.  This is God's deepest desire.  To dwell among HIS people.
Can you even imagine?  The awe and wonder and fear of it all?

Just a note:
I wrote this post last week, and then had to sit on it.  I am still chewing this all over...what Jubilee meant to the people of Israel and how we are to see it and apply it to our life.  What do you think?

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