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February 24th - Righteousness Rest and Restoration

Righteousness, Rest and Restoration

(Leviticus 21:1-24; 22:1-16; 23:10-11; 25:1-43, 47-55)

Fallow Fields

Photographer Unknown

Today’s Bible readings include a roundup on righteousness, focusing on high priestly requirements, the Sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee.

High Holiness

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.’”

(Romans 3:10-11, NLT)

Perhaps this is what God meant, when He stated repeatedly that it is only He who makes men holy (see Leviticus 21:8; Leviticus 21:15; Leviticus 21:23; Leviticus 22:9; Leviticus 22:16).

“I am the Lord who makes them holy.”

(Leviticus 22:15, NLT)

Thanks be to God, who offers us His own righteousness, for we have none of our own.

Banishing Burnout

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

Holy lives,

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.


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1 comment:

  1. I have always enjoyed reading the Penteteuch. Some people find the rules and regulations set forth in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy boring to read through. I think it is fascinating and enjoy the testimony of His love and concern for His children. He looks after us spiritually and physically. He provided the Israelites with rules and knowledge to keep them safe and healthy. Basic sanitary things that are common sense to us now but unknown at that time in history. Although not mentioned in this section, perhaps if we were to follow His advice in other areas of scripture to be righteous stewards we would have the resources required to have a period of respite. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed and I can't do anything else if I give myself up and participate in religious duties things clear up :) He is most gracious and merciful to those who choose to follow Him. He just waits for us to come to Him.

    Thank you for doing this blog. I really enjoy it.