Reading #1 – Leviticus 25
Reading #2 – Psalms 58
Reading #3 – Song of Solomon 4
Reading #4 – Zechariah 11
Reading #5 – James 2
Leviticus 25 – The Sabbath Year. During the Sabbath year rest or every 7th year, the land was to be given a time of healing. Whatever came from the land would provide for the foreigner and wild animals. Because G_d owned the land, he asserted the true right of how to treat the land. True to their mode of operation, the people did not adhere to G_d’s requirements and so the land enjoyed a 70-year rest all of the time the people were in exile (2 Chronicles 36:21). I did a little research to find out why G_d would make such a stipulation and could not find anything about it. The premise of the command is based really on “trust”. G_d owns the world and when we fail to treat it with respect, we harvest the results. In 1930, the US agriculture was decimated by droughts that led to the coined term “Dustbowl”. Due to low crop prices and high machinery costs, more submarginal lands were put into production. Farmers also started to abandon soil conservation practices. These events laid the groundwork for the severe soil erosion that would cause the Dust Bowl (https://drought.unl.edu/dustbowl/Home.aspx). When we are given a gift from G_d we are also given instructions for taking care of the gift. If we fail to listen, the gift will erode and we will be held accountable. When it comes to our relationship with G_d, it is much the same. We are to treat with respect not only our relationship with G_d but with the friends and family that surround us. During the Jubilee year or the 50th year, it is a time of returning properties to their rightful owner. After all, the person selling the land is selling you a certain number of harvests. 17 Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the LORD your God (16-17).
Psalms 58 – A Miktam of David “Do not Destroy”. It is said, “the proof is in the pudding”. When I consider the impact a ruler can have on the people, I think of the concept that each of us impacts someone for the better or the worst. It is very easy to say, “I care for you” but making it one’s life statement is a different thing. The fruit of one’s life will be in direct relationship to the seeds we plant; if the seed is no good, the fruit will be no good (1-5). The Word of God does not guarantee an immediate removal of the wicked if it were the case, people like Ahaz would not have reigned over Judah for 40 years. The Psalm is a lament but it is also a teaching Psalm. The lament is over the presence of the wicked who are destroying what is good in the land. The consolation is that the wicked just like the righteous will be judged accordingly. “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth (11).
Song of Solomon 4 – Love Sonnet. What is it about the love of the husband and a wife? God’s whole counsel is that the husband loves the wife unconditionally just as G_d love us unconditionally. In a true love relationship, there is no such thing as “I will love you until___”. As we age, our bodies change and therefore are not a suitable dividing line for our relationship. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly (Colossians 3:19).
Zechariah 11 – The Good and Wicked Leaders. The prophet is pressed into a leadership role over a people Judah. Regretfully, the people wanted the Prophet to lead them but did not want to adhere to G_d’s principles. In the same way, when a Pastor is elected to lead the people when he or she violates the established “norm” by insisting on following G_d’s principles for living the same people who voted in the pastor will be the harshest critics. When the shepherd of the flock leads the people down bad roads, the shepherd and the flock are held accountable for their actions. Then I took two shepherd’s staffs and named one Favor and the other Union. 8 I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month. But I became impatient with these sheep, and they hated me, too. 9 So I told them, “I won’t be your shepherd any longer. If you die, you die. If you are killed, you are killed. And let those who remain to devour each other!”
10 Then I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, showing that I had revoked the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 That was the end of my covenant with them. The suffering flock was watching me, and they knew that the LORD was speaking through my actions (7-11).
James 2 – Warning Against Prejudice. Favoritism or playing “favorites” will dismantle even the strongest relationships; it can divide friends and foes alike. In the Kingdom of G_d, there is no room for favoritism for G_d loves all mankind (John 3:16).