“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes. Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:40-45
The land was also promised it’s Sabbaths, and if God’s people won’t give it, eventually God will remove them from the land. This would be the last stage of punishment: casting them out of the land of promise.
Before this would happen, there would be other rounds of punishment: crop failure, disease, wild beasts, sword bearing oppressors, evil rulers. Each of these would be a warning that worse was coming if there was not a return to obedience.
Today it would behoove is to consider our ways. Have we not brought evil upon ourselves by our disobedience? Were we not told to make disciples of all nations? We’re we not told to seek first His kingdom? We’re we not told to love our enemies, pray for those who use us, visit those in prison, feed the hungry, clothe the naked? Is it not true that we only seek the promises that give us ease and wealth?
We would do well to consider that our past prosperity led us away from God and gave us hate and division and debt and sickness. We turn to our tower of Babel government to solve our problems while forgetting the God who made us. We must repent and turn back to Him.
“If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, then his nearest redeemer shall come and redeem what his brother has sold. If a man has no one to redeem it and then himself becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it, let him calculate the years since he sold it and pay back the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and then return to his property. But if he does not have sufficient means to recover it, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of the buyer until the year of jubilee. In the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.” Leviticus 25:25-28
This little known economic plan has not been practiced for centuries. It was supposed to go into effect when the promised land was taken. It was God’s land, that he is had promised to His people, and they were essentially His tenants. When you bought land, you paid a price based on the number of crops you would get until the year of Jubilee, when land would be returned to the people who had it at the distribution, the conquest of Canaan. All sorts of debts would be cancelled. Slaves would go free. It put a real damper on the concentration of wealth.
Although this law has been interrupted and forgotten due to the several conquests of the Land by foreign powers, it still reveals something about God’s desire that we care for one another, and that every generation should experience hope. Some people become rich and others become poor. It will always happen. The poor should not be forsaken. This did not demand the creation of a welfare state, but the development of a custom of compassion. It is this custom that should exist in perpetuity, regardless of who rules over us.
Now an Israelite woman’s son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, and the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in custody, till the will of the Lord should be clear to them.
Even the most libertine free speech advocate knows there is a difference between speaking your mind on a controversial subject and provocative words aimed at slandering someone. Sometimes your mouth can get you in trouble. And speaking slanderously of your God can get you killed. It is a punishment that fits the crime if you believe there is a God at all.
Today we don’t punish blasphemy at all. It barely registers disapproval. Taking the name of the Lord in vain is very common, even among those who at least nominally believe in Him. Such casual defiance and disdain of our creator is pretty plain evidence of a people who despise Him and all His commands, who will not have a leg to stand on when they are before his throne of judgment, facing the fires of hell. Maybe the occasional stoning would not be such a bad idea.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.
” Leviticus 23:1-2
On this subject I will yield to the writer of this article, that does a splendid job of showing how Christ fulfilled the feasts through His redemptive work.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Col. 2:16-17 (ESV)
It is no wonder the religious leaders tried to kill Paul, who went preaching liberty to all, telling them the earthly feasts were over, for the heavenly one had come.