Parashat Bahar (On the Mountain)
& Bechukotai (In My Decrees)
VaYikra (Leviticus) 25:1–26:2 & 26:3–27:34
Our weekly reading made me think about things that we hold on to, and the possessions that we think belong to us, but in reality, belong to the LORD who entrusted them to us. Leviticus 25 speaks of the Year of Shmita (A Sabbath year that was to be taken every 7 years) and the Year of Jubilee:
You shall proclaim with a ram’s horn (shofar blast) abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.
The theme of “release” or being set free is an important aspect of Messiah Yeshua’s work in our lives, and for all who follow Him. I have been feeling the importance of releasing more and more in light of the current pandemic. As I am writing this, I can’t help but think of how uncertain the future seems, and the fact that those things we grew used to, and in many ways put our trust in, have been shaken and, suddenly, we need to reevaluate everything in our lives.
Another verse later on the parasha really struck me:
The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and resident with Me.
What a powerful verse this is! It's a great reminder that we are aliens and temporarily reside on this earth, which belongs to God! How do we treat it? How do we care for it? What is it that we hold on to that actually belongs to God? The truth is that the earth belongs to God. I love what we are required to do during the year of Shmita and Jubilee - we are to give it time to rest, time for redemption, time for others to also enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. At times, we hold on to “our” possessions as if they are ours and forget that all we have is from God, it all belongs to Him, and He has entrusted everything to us to care for in the way He commands us to.
This is yet another area that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought to my attention. Is it possible that this is a wakeup call from God because we stopped caring for that which He entrusted to us? This is not only in reference to the earth, but also everything in it — including people. Have we forgotten that all He has entrusted to us is not for our benefit, but for His glory? Are we good stewards of all that He's given to us?
Another verse that I found extremely important is Leviticus 25:55:
For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
Those whom the Lord has redeemed belong to Him, Jew and Gentile alike. Messiah Yeshua has redeemed us, and each of us who puts our trust in His Son, Who was sent to reconcile the world to Himself, belong to Him. We need to free ourselves from the things of this world; we need to remember that the earth and all which is in it belongs to God and that He entrusted it for us to care for.
In closing, let us reflect upon those things that we hold on to, and that we need to be willing to release. Whether it’s the possessions that God has entrusted to us, or feelings, lack of forgiveness, bitterness, etc. He has freed us from all these things that weigh us down and desires for us to release it all to Him.
Did you know? — Lone Soldier
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