Day 56 (Feb. 25): Property redemption, poor and enslaved redemption, blessings and punishments

Need some direction in your life?  Join BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  Read on, some answers may surprise you.  Many will explain things in the Bible you may have been confused about.  Most of all, they can help you understand the Bible, which helps us lead a life that fulfills God and us.  Take the challenge.  You won’t regret it.  Let us know if you have any comments to share.

Leviticus 25:24-26:46

Questions & Observations

Q. (Leviticus 25:24-34): This type of land agreement doesn’t make sense to me.  Why should the seller have a right to buy back the land?

A. Because they were the permanent owner.  Most of the land would be transferred back to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee.  The system was designed to prevent the type of situation that we have in our country now: too much wealth in the hands of a few people, which allows them to do as they please without consideration of others.  The wealthy in this system were not permitted to exploit those who fell upon hard times, and this is just one example of how this was carried out.

Q. (25: 44-46): We have discussed already that slaves have had an important role in the societies of the OT.  Here, it sounds that they are just to the side, but I think these verses are just being straight to the point: Slaves were a reality then as a part of a working society.  We have learned in previous readings that God does not want slaves treated harshly.  He rescued the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.  But, it is hard to read that God would allow slaves and children to be sold.  Rob, can you offer any thing more?

A. The system is designed to protect the Israelites, and sometimes this comes at the expense of the people around them, as it does in this case.  Now having said that, even though it was clearly part of their society to have gentile, i.e. non-Jewish slaves, such slaves could NOT be mistreated, as we read in Exodus 23:9, and were to be loved as you love yourself,” as we saw in Lev 19:33-34.  So there were slaves, including children, as part of the cultural system in place, but it was the job of the Israelite owner to bear in mind their own responsibility to not exploit them.

O. (26:1-13): I have to comment on all of this good stuff.  Notice here that in the first two verses, God only asks that the Israelites not worship anything except Him, keep the Sabbath day of rest and revere His sanctuary.  Then, if they did all of that, He will give all of this: rains, crops, fruit, more than enough to eat; peace, no cause for fear, riddance of wild animals and enemies; make them fertile and multiply, a surplus of crops and that He will walk with them.

Q. (26:14-46): Here is the wrath of God which elicits the Fear of God to show how disobeying the Father causes devastation.  This passage sounds like God is foretelling that the Israelites will break His laws.  I like at the end, where after talking about the destruction that He will cause if the Israelites disobey, God will not reject them because of the Covenant He made.  Although God sounds harsh with all of His laws and punishments, we have to remember that He does it out of love.  It’s not a matter of that God is the boss, although He is, it’s a matter of listening to Him because He is the Creator, the Blesser … the Father.  He knows what He is talking about.  He tells us these rules to keep us on the right path for our own good.  Rob, did I say all of this correctly?

A. Yup: looks good to me.  This theme of choosing life over death will be repeated in Moses’ farewell address in the book of Deuteronomy.  But essentially, God is laying out a warning here that will NOT be heeded by the people.  They will turn from Him and break His laws: they will worship other gods and pay the penalty for it over and over.  These are truly prophetic words that God is laying out here: Israel has great success when it honors God (under David and Solomon for example), but horrid failure under many of the later kings, such that huge portions of the nation will be wiped off the map by foreign armies, and the entire surviving nation will be taken into captivity in Babylon.  Yet through it all, we see that God is true to His word: He does not abandon His people, and He will again and again redeem a remnant of His people in order to carry His message to all nations.  I can’t wait to walk with each of you the way the story will unfold, but you get a pretty good preview of it here!

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