Righteousness, Rest and Restoration
(Leviticus 21:1-24; 22:1-16; 23:10-11; 25:1-43, 47-55)
Today’s Bible readings include a roundup on righteousness, focusing on high priestly requirements, the Sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee.
Certainly the Lord holds leaders to a high standard of conduct and character.
The Levitical law of the Old Testament expresses this requirement in no uncertain terms. Priests were to have no disease or defect. They were not allowed to trim their beards, shave their heads or mar their bodies in any way. The priests were expected to withdraw from any potential defilement or contamination, so that they might remain holy before the Lord.
Is it truly possible for anyone to be holy before the Lord? Of course, humans cannot meet God’s perfect standard, except through His great grace and the covering of the Lord’s own sacrifice.
The Apostle Paul, a trained Pharisee and Scripture scholar, echoed this truth in his letter to the early Christian church at Rome:
“As the Scriptures say,
‘No one is righteous – not even one.
No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.’”
“I am the Lord who makes them holy.”
Thanks be to God, who offers us His own righteousness, for we have none of our own.
In His great compassion, our Creator ordered His people to rest from their labors once a week on the Sabbath. In addition, He instructed them to offer the land a Sabbath rest every seven years. Leaving the fields to lay fallow actually is a practical agricultural strategy, allowing the nutrients in the soil to recover and rejuvenate.
What a spiritual lesson this principle offers for ancient and modern peoples alike. Do our hectic lives allow us any opportunity to recover and rejuvenate from overuse? Although we may not be at liberty to retire fully from our vocations every seven years, do we look for opportunities to set aside seasons of rest?
How many of us, in our earnest pursuit of the Lord’s work, actually end up suffering from burnout because we refuse to observe any times of rest or respite? Might we not become even more effective servants of the most high God, if we took short seasons of rest periodically?
Jubilee and Justice
Every 50 years, according to the Lord’s own instructions, the Israelites were to celebrate the Year of Jubilee. At this time, slaves, real estate and other property could be redeemed.
What a picture of the coming redemption of the Lord. When the Messiah Jesus arrived and achieved the ultimate victory over sin and death, He freed the captives (all of us) and marked the true eternal jubilee.
Everything belongs to God, including we ourselves, if we have given ourselves into a covenant relationship with the Lord. What a blessing to know that we can live abundantly in His joyful jubilee.
Will you pray with me?
Great God of grace,
How awed we are
To know that
You are willing to offer us
Cleansing us with Your own purity.
Remind us to rest in You,
So that we may serve You more fully
In Your power and purpose.
We thank You
For Your victory at the cross,
Achieving jubilee redemption
Both now and forever.
What a wonderful God You are.