A Devotional Journey
led by Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
This section begins with God’s commitment to consequence (a man misuses the name of the LORD and is executed by stoning), and includes a reaffirmation of His punishment for those who disobey Him, then goes on to an emphasis on grace: in the restoration of debts which is to occur as a normal part of the national life; in the blessings God bestows on those who obey Him; and in the provision He makes to symbolize His importance as LORD of His People without taking from them what they cannot gladly give.
It is an awesome thing to realize how seriously God takes Himself. We may resist the idea or scoff at it, but people die in Old (and New) Testament times who ignore His importance and violate His honor.
What was said by the man who misused God’s name in some curse is unknown. Certainly as patient as God seems to be with our own transgressions in this regard, it makes sense not to use His name in any irreverent way (such as in swearing). It is an indictment against our society that we have chosen the name of God over that of any racial or political group to be demeaned and abused in our public interactions. The expletives built around His name are so common as to be habitual for many people.
The Sabbath Year is designed to preserve the fertility of the soil and is a proven benefit by modern agricultural research, while the Year of the Jubilee makes sure that the property of any family is kept in that family regardless of personal misfortunes or any one generation’smismanagement. It is fascinating that these standards are in place before the people actually own any land or are farming it, and while some have seen it as evidence that there is more than one generation of writers represented in this book, it is just as possible that the God who created the universe should decide to plan ahead a little with the People He has chosen as His own.
The reward for obedience is always real in the Bible, here framed in terms of prosperity, freedom and peace. The punishment for disobedient is physical suffering, national subjugation by enemies, and the hostility of God Himself (26:24).
The last chapter, though very detailed & focused history, still shows God’s awareness of human nature and fallibility. Even in the instance when someone has, in a moment of exuberance, dedicated something to God, they may still have a chance to redeem it.
Do you think God is only the giver of harsh rules and oppressive judgments? Did you know the point of the law of retribution (an eye for an eye, 24:18-20) is to restrict what could be done not insist on it. In other words, God’s people were not allowed to do more than had been done to them, or in our terms, the punishment had to fit the crime.
God’s justice is real; His grace is real; and His love is real. Christ’s death on the Cross reveals them all. We have nothing to fear from God, as long as we belong to Him. We can belong to Him if we will put our trust in Him. We can put our trust in Him, but only when we set aside what we have heard about Him and meet Him ourselves. This He invites us to do every day!
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011