The everlasting G-d who provides
B’Har (On the Mountain) Vayikra/Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Tonight I want to begin our time together by looking at a set of holidays that we seldom take time to study indepth. These include Shabbat, the Shmitah year and Jubilee year. What do these three teach us and why are they important to remember?
Two of the three, Shabbat and Shmitah, have the same Hebrew root which is Shevit or rest, be still. At its core this word means rest. We all know the weekly Shabbat is a day of rest for us. Shmitah is a time every seven years when each farmer was to allow his fields and orchards to lie fallow and rest. Jubilee was a time when, after forty nine years, an entire year was set aside when debts were canceled and land was returned to its ancestral owners.
What was the reason for each of these three appointed times? I believe the overriding point in each is to remind us and the Israelites that G-d is our provider. All things belong to Him. He expects our life to reflect this and to express this in the society in which we live.
Sometimes we compartmentalize our lives by keeping G-d more or less outside of our regular life. We look for Him and relate to Him on Shabbat or Sunday. We tend to keep Him out of our business or our pocketbook. These times speak directly against this way of thinking. G-d wants to be a part of our lives on every level 24/7. Even now our world is in a panic over home prices, food prices, stock markets and other events happening today that test our faith. We must never forget that G-d is all and above all. These three holidays covered in this Torah portion tonight should encourage us in our struggle with the unknown. We as G-d’s people are to do our part in living our lives attesting to the fact that our G-d is our all in all and will always be. We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only. (James 1:22-23) We are to reflect the peace and rest of Him in our lives.
Now to my next topic for today, Leviticus 25:34, “And the fields of pasture of their cities shall not be sold, because it is an everlasting possession for them.” The two important words in this verse are achuzot olam, or an eternal possession. These two words appear in other places as well such as Genesis 48:4 where G-d promised Jacob the land of Israel will be an everlasting (Eternal) possession to him and his offspring. In other words, everlasting means for all time. Even though G-d promised Jacob and his offspring the land of Israel they were to remember that G-d is the actual owner. He by His covenant with Israel as His chosen people, has given them the right to live in His land. (II Samuel 7:24) Shaul carries this idea over in the Messianic scriptures in Romans 11:26, 29.
However, there is one more step we need to know. We read in Isaiah 56:6-8 where G-d says there will be foreigners who join themselves to the L-rd and will be accepted by Him. This promise is later echoed by Yeshua in John 10:16. G-d has joined non-Jews to the House of Israel, not to take the place of the nation but to be joined to them. Is this a temporary thing or like Israel are we to be linked with His people forever? We read in John 10:28-29 where this is eternal. We are to stand with our older brothers and sisters for all time.
How does this work out in our lives each day? This does not mean we are to replace the Jewish people. We are to learn from them. We are to join with them as Acts 5:18-21 lays out.
We are to stand with them as the world will more and more seek to destroy them. Countries will try to take their land and divide it among people who have not joined themselves to the G-d of Jacob. Instead they seek to wipe out the people who truly hold the spiritual title to the land.
We are as Acts says in 5:18-21 to live a life that reflects biblical principles, principles that have fallen by the wayside in our world today. I believe this also means our day to day life must reflect our faith as stated in Acts.
Blessings to you all as you seek to live this truth out every day in your life as righteous non-Jews.