Apr 21, 2022

(Leviticus 25, Psalm 32; Optional Romans 10:10-21, Proverbs 20:1-4)

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LEVITICUS 25 – Those that belong to Yahweh will give evidence in EVERY area of life, including how they conserve the land and let it rest (see especially v 4, 18-21, 23, 37-38) and how they treat one another (see especially v 13-17, 35-43, 53-55).

Lev 25:10 – Part of this verse (in KJV) is on the Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” This hopefully sounds familiar to you even more because it’s so similar to Jesus’ sermon in Luke 4:16-21 (where He was quoting Isa 61:1-2, filled with language drawn from Lev 25).

Lev 25:35-43 – God made a way for poor Israelites to work hard and survive by selling their labor as servants. Israelites were NOT to own each other, because they already belonged to God. Paul asks Philemon to apply something like this to his former slave Onesimus who had now become a believer (see Phil v 12-16). Extending this kind of logic (treating one another as the family we truly are in Christ) led many Christians throughout the world to push for the overthrow of slavery.

Lev 25:42 – Most translations have a different word near the beginning of the verse and at the end, but it’s the same root word in Hebrew – “slaves”. God says that an Israelite should NOT be sold as a slave to another Israelite because they already belong to HIM as His beloved slave (see notes reflecting on what the Bible says about slavery from earlier this year – Mar 10 – notes on Exodus 21).

Lev 25:47-55 – A wealthier relative COULD (but was not REQUIRED) redeem a family member and rescue them from their crushing debt, setting them free. This is what Boaz did as “kinsman redeemer” in the book of Ruth – beautifully pointing to Jesus, the Redeemer of all who turn to Him! He pays our sin debt and sets us free and unites us to Himself.

PSALM 32  – A Psalm rejoicing in God’s forgiveness when sinners confess their sin and turn to God. At the top of this Psalm I’ve written: “My response: “Lord, make me a quick repenter!’”

Many think this Psalm records the year between David’s adultery with Bathsheba (and murder of her husband in attempted cover-up) and his confession and repentance when confronted (those sad details in 2 Sam 11-12). Romans 4:7-8 are quoting this Psalm as key Old Testament evidence that believers in the one true God have ALWAYS understood (though not with the precision we now know after Jesus) that our hope is NOT in our own goodness, but in coming to God in repentance and faith. We can never be good enough to EARN our forgiveness (only Jesus could pay with His own life on the cross), but God graciously GIVES forgiveness to repentant sinners who turn to Him in faith!

Ps 32:2 – “no deceit” – I think in context (see the beginning of v 3 – “kept silent”) this refers to a refusal to acknowledge / confess sin. Compare Prov 28:13 and 1 John 1:8-10.

Ps 32:3-4 – A reminder of the painful effects of unconfessed sin. This is God’s grace driving us towards repentance.

Ps 32:5 – Again, compare Prov 28:13 and 1 Jn 1:8-10

Ps 32:10-11 – Don’t miss the contrast! There are only two paths, and only the path of trusting Yahweh leads to eternal joy.

Optional Rom 10:10-21 – I love the BALANCE of the Bible! People like me who believe in the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation (see Rom 9:10-24) have sometimes strayed into ignoring OTHER parts of Scripture (like Rom 10:14-15) that make clear that people MUST believe and MUST have the Gospel preached to them. So humans are CLEARLY involved in God saving people! I believe Rom 9:16 (and Phil 2:12-13) makes clear that the DECISIVE and most FOUNDATIONAL reality is not the human will but the sovereign mercy of God. But it’s ALSO clear that our human will is definitely INVOLVED. So we must proclaim the Gospel to ALL (only God knows who fits where in Rom 9:18) and also give generously to missions to SUPPORT the proclaiming of the Gospel. I keep returning to the clarity of Deut 29:29!

Optional Proverbs 20:1-4 – Prov 20:1 – a verse (among many others) that leads many believers to avoid alcohol altogether. And if alcohol has had you enslaved in the past, you should avoid it completely now (see 1 Cor 6:12). But for those Christians who are tempted to look down on believers who DO partake in some alcohol, remember that though MANY of the Scriptural references to alcohol are warnings, some Scriptures clearly present it at as a good gift of God to be enjoyed by SOME who have freedom in the Lord to partake (see Deut 14:26). Prov 20:4 – beautiful balance to much of Lev 25:1-19 (especially v 3-5, 20-22). There IS a time to rest (and even to let the land rest), but there’s ALSO time to plan ahead and work hard.