The religious leaders of Jesus’ time had come up with so many rules and regulations, many of them man-made, that they needed religious lawyers to interpret them all. Then each rabbi or teacher had his opinion of which were the most important. But when one of those lawyers asked Jesus for His opinion about which laws were the greatest, He basically said, I’ll do you one better, I’ll sum them all up for you!
Also, we are repeatedly warned, even in the New Testament, to avoid idolatry. In fact, we’re warned to flee from it. But giant statues aren’t the only kind of idols. Read about a brand of idolatry with which we may all struggle: idolatry of the heart. Continue reading →
The idea of a Sabbath has always been an important principle in the Bible. God rested on the 7th day and has instructed us to take time to rest, as well. Sabbath isn’t just about rest, it’s also about refocusing on God.
The children of Israel were not only to observe a Sabbath each week. There was to be a Sabbath year every seven years. This was a year for the land, as well as the people, to rest. This allowed the nutrients in the soil to be replenished while it kept the people focused on God. It was a reminder that everything, including the land, was the Lord’s. They were merely stewards over it. That is still true today with whatever the Lord has blessed us: jobs, property, talents, even our children.
Then every fifty years, after seven sets of seven years, there was to be a year of Jubilee! This was an additional year of rest from labor, but even more importantly, all the Israelites who had fallen on hard times were to be restored, released from indebtedness and given back family property. This would be even more important once they had gone in and taken possession of the Promised Land because God would allocate land to each of the twelve tribes for an inheritance.
An amazing thing would take place leading up to the year of Jubilee. On the sixth year God would provide such abundance that it would sustain the people for three years! What a beautiful picture of God’s provision!
With all the talk today about hard economic times, what does the year of Jubilee picture for us? What can we do that will help us rest in God’s provision? Continue reading →