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Wow! OYB keeps up a relentless pace. Yesterday a tough discussion on the death penalty. Today we get to imagine a Year of Jubilee!

What would that be like for us? All our mortgages cancelled, all our credit card accounts back to zero, all our employment contracts ended? Everyone back to square one with his 'original' land (whatever that is) and his herds and flocks (savings). Today a big party and tomorrow everyone to the marketplace to make new deals for the next 50 years. Hard to imagine.

But I do believe Jesus came to fulfill something like that. A new era, a new deal, a new relationship between man and God, a life of freedom as citizens of His Kingdom, a life empowered by the Spirit of God (Eph 1:19). So the Jubilee should be a walking-on-the-water party!

Re Mike's question about the picture:

It is not altogether clear to me. I suppose the people are looking for the first rays of the dawn on the first day of the Year of Jubilee, the day they are set free. Is that person reaching up to try to catch the first rays? What is that in beyond the people? Water, strangely coloured by the orange dawn? Maybe that is the place for the walking-on-the-water party!

Sorry if that seems facetious or irreverent. It is meant to be more of a challenging question. Maybe I am running ahead in the OYB programme. We still have to get through quite some Torah and we are still in the Gospels and not yet in Acts. But I do have questions about why we as believers are not booming with more of the power of the Spirit, why are we not manifesting a bright new life, why we are not celebrating a perpetual Year of Jubilee?

Andrew B,

I was kinda of think’n the same thing but from a different perspective. I read and reread the Leviticus reading four times this morning and will probably do the same thing during the day. My question to God was, “Is this command, thus the consequences and blessings for us, or is this, was this, specifically for Israel?” If today’s belivesr can tap into this, why haven’t we and what consequences of our failure are being brought into the lives of our children?”

Lots to think and pray about.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

P.S. As yesterday’s comments unfolded, about mid-day, my time (Eastern Standard Time—USA), I began wondering if some of the provocative comments may have been a diversionary tactic to waylay those on the journey from the real intent of this Blog, reading the Word---Just a thought.

I am seeking to embrace Lent this year, although it's not really from my tradition. I am taking up a discipline of time which I have just attempted to articulate on my blog. Basically, I am meditating on, looking at, and being intentional about how I use my time so that God can make me more useful to Him.

Just wanted to share these equipping / strengthening / IN-couraging verses by the Spirit of God today:

All verses are in the NEW KING JAMES VERSION

***

JOSHUA 1
8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

HEBREWS 13
5
...For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”[Quoting Joshua 1:5]
6
So we may boldly say: “ The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”[Quoting Psalm 118:6]

***

PROVERBS 21
21
He who follows righteousness and mercy Finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22
A WISE MAN SCALES THE CITY OF THE MIGHTY, AND BRINGS DOWN THE TRUSTED STRONGHOLD.

PROVERBS 24
5 A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;
6
For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

***

LUKE 2
40
And the Child [JESUS] grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

ROMANS 8
28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

==> AS WITH JESUS, you can be "strong in spirit and filled with wisdom" and "the grace of God" will be "upon" you.

***

I CORINTHIANS 1
28
...and the things which are despised [I.E., BY THOSE WHO SPEAK TO YOU ON YOUR JOB] God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29
that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30
But of Him [GOD THE FATHER] you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
31
that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”[quoting Jeremiah 9:24]

2 CORINTHIANS 12
9
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

EPHESIANS 6
10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
13
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

JAMES 1
2
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
4
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

LOVE, in Jesus,

Vance

From yesterday's postings:

Stacey - You are right - there is no such thing as time wasted on Bible study - even if it makes us uncomfortable or is a bit contentious. I was frustrated with the tenor and vitriolic direction of the conversation. Thanks for your comments and perspective.

Ramona - Amen to your P.S. I wonder how often we get off track in studying God's Word with issues such as this - important issues, to be sure. But certainly not keeping the main thing the main thing.

Blessings to all and prayers for those going through surgeries and treatment.

It was nice today to hear some encouraging...helpful comments. Yesterday had a bit of... conflict. It will happen I guess with such a topic, but there needs to be respect for other views without animosity. At any rate, that was then and this is now...thankyou for the verses Vance and I found Laura's post on the service she attended interesting...thankyou. ps...I really enjoy everyone's comments. Very helpful at times. This site has been a blessing. In The Truth

Hi Ramona,

Any further thoughts on consequences of the Leviticus passage for us today?

And what general principles do we have for determining which of the Law applies to us and which was specific for the Israelites, but is not intended for us now?

Thanks,
Andrew B

Andrew,

"But I do have questions about why we as believers are not booming with more of the power of the Spirit, why are we not manifesting a bright new life, why we are not celebrating a perpetual Year of Jubilee?"

Being a born again Christian for about two years now, I look around the Christians I know, and I have observed this:
I have noticed some 60 - 90 year old people that have walked with the Lord for a LONG time. They absolutely glow, their manner is so gentle, their beliefs so firm, their love of Christ so deep, the Holy Spirit seems to just shine through their skin.

Back in my Christian infancy, I asked them what they believed, how they acted out that belief, how they handled adversity, etc.?

Going to sound like a broken record, but the bottom line is they were faithful in reading the "Word", prayer, worship, obediance, and the discipline of applying what they learned from all the above, (and throw in a little fasting:). I asked, "because I wanted what they had."

I have experianced in my brief walk with Christ, some of the blessings of God through the Holy Spirit. It always happens when I am faithful in my prayer, Bible Study, my worship, my desire to do God's will; not my will, and my resistance to temptation (especially regarding sins from my past life). The blessings are manifested in addictions being removed, opportunities to witness and share the "Word", financial blessings, handling of situatons different than I would have in the past, and a perceived difference in me by others (especially non-believers), etc.

My prayer is that I can stay in that state of reverence and obediance in a more consistent manner. I believe this will increase the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in my life and be pleasing to God.

Conversely, if I do not do the things pleasing to God, and I am haphazard in the areas listed above, I believe my growth in Christianity gets "stunted" or "stuck". Perhaps then the task of the Holy Spirit becomes one of teaching, correcting, disciplining, and molding me, rather than just being a pure conduit for the flow of God's blessings.

[Note: the last sentence is one of pure conjecture on my part.]

Ramona,

I'll bite, even though I get the distinct feeling this was a rhetorical question.

Leviticus 26:46
These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the LORD established on Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses.

Chapter 26 is about the Blessings and Curses of the LAW (repeated again in Deut???) as it applies to the Sons of Israel (Hebrew translation for Israelites - i.e. twelve tribes).

For us, as you and I have both stated the "Curse" of the Law was nailed to the Cross, and the Law is now written in our hearts. As the "spiritual seed" of Abraham, I believe when we are obediant and faithful to God's internal commands, the blessings of God will flow to us. They are not related to the covenant promises to Israel, but nonetheless they are blessings in our lives.

When we are disobediant, the curses no longer apply, but God will discipline consistent and habitual disobediance. Hopefully we, as Christians, will be so convicted by the Holy Spirit over our disobediance that we will repent, confess our sins, and return to fellowship with God.

If the curse of the law was nailed to the cross for the "spiritutal seed" of Abraham, and the curses above apply to the nation of Israel, then:
I do not believe anything is passed down to children due to our habitual transgressions. I think this will come up later during the Bible Study, so I leave it at that for now.

Leviticus 25:47-27:13


The year of Jubilee seems to be a release for the children of Israel from the consequences of “bad” choices. Children would not be penalized for bad financial choices their parents made. The God of restoration provided His people, His servants with a means to restore what they had lost through bad choices or unforeseen circumstances. However all of this restoration, at least in their lifetime was contingent on them “obeying.” Their obedience would insure the weather would fit the “seasons” for sowing and reaping. Their obedience in keeping the Sabbath rests for the land insured that the land would keep them.

Is this meant for us today? Can believers, should believers expect the same thing? First, I’m not so sure these promises are for anybody outside of Israel; however, each and everyone who calls themselves a Christian has had to face there own deliverance from the bondage of sin into the land of freedom, liberty from the cords of sin. With freedom comes responsibility: responsibility to walk in that freedom comes by way of walking in obedience. Obedience and/or submission to God is not perceived as being free by many believers, including Christians. In truth, we want the “freedom” to do what we want; but not the “freedom” to receive the consequences of our failed choices. Consequences, our consequences, we would prefer someone else other than us to either remove them from us or accept them and claim, “It’s may fault for letting you be free.”

Because I’ve read through to the end and been on this journey several times, I know how this story will end, the people could not obey the Law, but Jesus came to complete or fulfill the Law. He came to do what no one else could do. Jesus is the one who removed our consequences.

I am struggling with some of the things I am seeing in our youth. Choices, bad ones, they are making because of the choices their parents have made. Parents breaking faith with their God and the children rejecting that God and crying out “Hypocrites!” This is not a new model, Israel did it back in the “day.” Yet the Jesus I serve is the Jubilee restoring the “land” of the forefathers back to “In the beginning …”

Andrew B asked me what I saw in today’s passage but not in those words. What I see is the promise of Jubilee. Whether I am experiencing it now or fail to see signs of it in the future, today’s reading tells me it is already here. I don’t know if it is for us, I don’t know if the land is still “vomiting” out its inhabitants (See: Leviticus 18:24-29), but if is or if it ain’t it is still commanded that God’s people, not the elected officials or the king or queen, to Obey.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)


Grace and peace,
Ramona

Leviticus 26

Notice in Blessings that "IF" Israel will be obediant, than the covenant will be kept (I WILL). All those physical promises regarding the Land of Israel: bountiful,peaceful, powerful, and most importantly "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people."

Yet, if they disobey (and how can a sinful man/nation possibly obey) then they will be cursed.Yet vs.44
"..I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them."
Even then the covenant will not be broken, but just wait for the day that they repent and turn back to the Lord. Then the covenant will be remembered (brought back in to place) and brought to fruition.

This all goes back to the unilateral nature of God's covenant with Abraham (only God walked through the divided carcasses, not Abram). All the "I WILL" comments of God to Isaac and Jacob, indicating the perpetual everlasting nature of the Covenant.

Would we want it any other way? Afterall, if God could break the unilateral covenant with Israel, what makes us think he will keep his "Word" to us, the spiritual seed of Abraham.

By believing God ALWAYS keeps his "Word", it makes my belief that much stronger regarding the promises through Christ.

Vs. 35
"All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it."

The nation of Israel ignored the sabbath rest for the land for 490 years. That is 70 sabbath years. When they went into Babylonian captivity, the land lay fallow and the Israelites were captive for - 70 years.

2 Chron36:20-21
"He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah."

Lest we get the inclination that God speaks idle words - remember - He means what he says. He is patient and merciful, but He will punish habitual sin.

I missed all the blogging that went on yesterday. In many ways I'm glad I didn't engage the death penalty discussion. I speak as one who used to be very rigid in my views and there was only one right way: MY WAY!! Thank God I am changing.
Although the differences of perspective need to be appreciated there was a disturbing tone that left me feeling disappointed in us as followers of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Why is it that we feel the need to pressure people to hold the same convictions as we do especially when it isn't that clear contrary to what some would have us believe. I almost felt like we were on the verge of a 'holy war'.

One of the things I do appreciate about the Emerging Church community is that they are addressing some of these issues with a greater degree of thoughtfulness and compassion, realizing that we don't have ALL the conclusive answers.

Chuck Colson founder of Prison Fellowship has written some helpful stuff on the subject of the death penalty that would be worth people's research. Just google 'chuck colson and capital punishment'if you want to know a perspective from one whose ministry works with people on death row.

i forgot to put the link to chuck colson's personal statement on capital which I'm sure many will take issue with but it's worth reading anyway.

www.pfm.org then search Chuck colson's personal statement on capital punishment.

This Lent, I just want to grow in my faith and continue reading the bible and learn!

I love the idea of Jubilee. But it is so disappointing to realize God's people never really took Him up on His offer of restoration. I feel the same sadness over those who believe in God, but never do take up His offer of salvation in Jesus Christ and the awesome Jubilee power of the Holy Spirit.

God is very big and very faithful. He really just has asked for one big thing from us all whether Israelites or present day Christians. My favorite verse about the blessing and cursing of generations is found in Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words:
2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

And from Jesus: John 14: 15"If you love me, obey my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. 17He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18No, I will not abandon you as orphans--I will come to you. 19In just a little while the world will not see me again, but you will. For I will live again, and you will, too. 20When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them."
John 14:23Jesus replied, "All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them. 24Anyone who doesn't love me will not do what I say. And remember, my words are not my own. This message is from the Father who sent me. 25I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative--and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit--he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.

New life, restoration and the beautiful walk of the beloved in the Holy Spirit. That my friends is Jubilee!

Ramona, John,

Thanks for the responses.

Blessings,
Andrew

Leviticus 27: 1-8

Yesterday, March 2nd, I read something that caught my attention, I made a mental note of it but I forgot to mention it when I wrote my comments.

1GOD spoke to Moses. He said, 2"Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them: If anyone wants to vow the value of a person to the service of GOD, 3set the value of a man between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver, according to the Sanctuary shekel. 4For a woman the valuation is thirty shekels. 5If the person is between the ages of five and twenty, set the value at twenty shekels for a male and ten shekels for a female. 6If the person is between one month and five years, set the value at five shekels of silver for a boy and three shekels of silver for a girl. 7If the person is over sixty, set the value at fifteen shekels for a man and ten shekels for a woman. 8If anyone is too poor to pay the stated amount, he is to present the person to the priest, who will then set the value for him according to what the person making the vow can afford.

In the 3rd verse it states that a man is valued @ fifty shekels of silver (NLT) if they are vowed in the service of God. I immediately thought of Judas who negotiated the price of 30 pieces of silver for “turning in” Jesus, the value of a woman. A man and a religious body who never even realize the magnitude of their transaction undervalued Jesus who did indeed make a vow in the service of God, to be crucified to pay for our sins. God’s will and plan overrides all our plans and schemes. His will gets down despite wither our misplaced good or even bad intentions. God rocks and rules.

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