Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Blessing and Provision of God

Today we move back from the New Testament to the Old. We will be reading from Leviticus, one of the books of the law that God established with the people of Israel. Leviticus 25 tells us about the law of Sabbath and Jubilee – God’s desire for His people to live out a rhythm of rest. In Jesus, this law was fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-20, Hebrews 4) and as Jesus’ followers today we do not follow the commandment of Lev. 25 legalistically. But this text can tell you about God’s desire for you to live out a rhythm of work and rest as you trust in Him to provide. What is God saying to you through the text?


STUDY THE SCRIPTURE

Click here to access the reading from Leviticus 25:1-22

For more help use this Bible Study method

REFLECTION

Sharing is Caring
By Dan Kidd

This is one of those extraordinary passages that describes the possibilities of a community bound to one another in practical love. As we will see, this kind of mutual devotion entirely depends on an absolute trust in the generosity of the Lord.

Yahweh instructs Moses that the land itself is subject to the sabbath order found in the 3rd Commandment (Ex 20: 8-11; Dt 5: 12-15). On the 7th year, no one is to sow the fields, prune the vineyards, or reap the harvest. For 365 full days let the land rest.

Yahweh anticipates the push back. “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” you may ask. To which the Lord responds, “I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.” If you trust me enough to rest, enough to find peace of mind without your frenetic activity, I won’t let you down.

The passage couldn’t be clearer: we Bible-believing Christians are to take every seventh year off work. 365 days every seventh year we should leave our work behind and trust that the Lord will provide for us. You may want to let your supervisors or partners know now to anticipate your absence.

What’s that? You don’t think that is going to fly at your place of employment? Your school doesn’t offer “off years?” Bummer.

Does that mean that this verse has nothing for us? Is this a principle lost to a time before incessant busyness was necessary for survival? I’m not so sure. I wonder if we have convinced ourselves that if we were to stop our activities, for any time at all, the consequences would be catastrophic? I wonder if some of us have constructed a work life that has left absolutely no margin for significant periods of rest—wherein we trust the Lord to generate provisions beyond the work of our own hands? Do we trust King Jesus to multiply the bread we bake or the fish we catch into a meal that can feed thousands? Does our time-clock reflect that?

How do we get there? We trust God.
Also, we become a community of disciples who love one another.

One of the reasons the Hebrew people could take off the seventh year is that they lived as a community of shared resources. Those who received much were directed to give much, and those who received little from their labors were to be cared for by their community. They were directed not to take advantage of anyone else—not to participate in transactions which improve the life of one person and worsen another’s. No selfish hoarding allowed!

This season of Covid is ripe for opportunities to be this type of community, or small group, with one another. Perhaps you have not been much impacted by the virus; is this an opportunity for you to provide a meal, a service, groceries, childcare, or a ride to someone who needs them? Is this an opportunity for you or your friends to give more time or money to organizations that care for the poor and jobless? How can you model rest and actual reliance in the Lord to those around you?

Or, are you someone who needs “permission” to ask your community for help right now? Is there something your church family could help you with that you’ve been reluctant to ask for?

How can we be the community that shares together in the rewards of God’s generosity?

 UALC’S CAMPAIGN OF PRAYER – TUESDAY

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