Living With Hearts Open Wide & Hands Outstretched

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters fifteen through nineteen of this Old Testament book. A YEAR OF RELEASE! A TIME OF RELEASE! APPROACHING THE TIME OF RELEASE! HASTENING THE DAY OF RELEASE! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Moses continuing to rehearse the commandments which the Lord their God had given unto the generation of their fathers. Within and throughout the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find Moses rehearsing the commandments which the Lord their God had spoken unto him forty years earlier while atop the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness. Forty years earlier Moses was atop the mountain of God in the wilderness and received from Him—not only those commands which were written and inscribed on tablets of stone, but also the moral and civil law that was to govern how the congregation of the children of Israel lived within the land into which they were being brought. As you read the words found within this Old Testament book you will be quickly and immediately confronted with the reality that what Moses was seeking to do in the hearing and presence of this new generation was not so much give them a new revelation from the Lord, but rather remind them concerning that which had already been spoken. If there is one thing I absolutely love about the words found in this book it’s that Moses was reminding the children of Israel of what they had already received from the Lord, and that which their fathers had heard of him in the wilderness. As they prepared to enter into the land of promise, possession and inheritance which their fathers rejected and despised, there was a great need for them to be reminded of those words which the Lord their God had indeed and had in fact spoken unto them a generation before. Even more than this, we must recognize and understand the tremendous reality that the words which the Lord had spoken unto that previous generation had not somehow expired with them in the wilderness as their bodies fell in the midst of the wilderness. The words, the commands, the statutes, the decrees, the laws which the living God had spoken unto that first generation had not expired because that first generation was no longer present in the earth, and this new generation that would enter into the land of Canaan would be governed by the same law which their fathers had received from the Lord.

NEW LAND, SAME LAW! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the tremendous fact that while it was true there was a new generation of the congregation of the children of Israel that would be entering into the land, that new generation would in fact be governed by the same law and the same statutes which their fathers were to be governed by. There was absolutely no distinction between that generation which fell in the wilderness, and that generation which would enter into the land of Canaan, for the generation that would enter into the land of Canaan would hear and receive the same word which was spoken unto their fathers. REMEMBERING THE WORD SPOKEN UNTO OUR FATHERS! LOOKING BACK ON THE GENERATION OF OUR FATHERS! LOOKING BACK ON THE GENERATION OF OUR FOREFATHERS! Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is when you think about and consider the fact that this generation would hear from Moses the very same word which their fathers had heard a generation earlier when they stood before the mountain of the Lord in the wilderness. This new generation would receive a tremendous declaration from Moses concerning the word, and how the word was nigh unto them, and even in their mouth and heart. The word which they needed was not in some distant or remote place, and it was not in the heights of heaven, as it required someone to ascend into heaven to bring the word unto them. The word which they would need and the word which would govern their lives would be received a generation earlier when their fathers stood before the mountain of the Lord in the wilderness. As that first generation sat encamped before the mountain of God in the wilderness they would hear the voice of God speaking unto Moses, and ultimately speaking unto them. Despite the fact that they shrank back in fear and requested that Moses speak to them, lest the Lord their God speak to them and they die, the Lord their God still spoke unto them only a few short months after they had departed from the land of Egypt. It would be at that mountain in the midst of the wilderness where the Lord would not only reveal Himself in His glory and presence, but it would be at that mountain the living God would teach them His laws, His commands and His statutes—laws which would govern them in the wilderness, as well as in the land into which He was bringing them.

REMEMBER! REMEMBER! REMEMBER! If there is one common theme and one thread that is interwove throughout the entire book of Deuteronomy it is that of remembering—and not just remembering, but remembering that which the Lord had spoken unto them and unto their fathers in that previous generation. It was true that Moses rehearsed in the hearing of this generation how the Lord their God descended upon the mountain of God in the wilderness, and sought to remind them of how He descended upon that mountain in their midst, there was something greater than simply the presence of the Lord upon the mountain. It was true that Moses rehearsed in the hearing of this generation how the Lord their God had delivered Sihon king of Heshbon into their hands, as well as Og king of Bashan, and even the kings of Midian, however, there was something of far greater worth and far greater value to this congregation. If there is one thing we must recognize concerning this book—as well as that which was written and recorded in the books of Exodus and Leviticus—it’s the direct link between the Law of the Lord and the land into which they were being brought. As you read and study the words found within these Old Testament books you will find the direct connection between the law of the Lord and the land, for not only would obeying and heeding the law of the Lord allow them to enter into and take possession of the land, but their obedience to the law of the Lord would also allow them to prosper in the midst of the land. What we must understand, and what is absolutely necessary for us to recognize is that obedience to the law of the Lord is not only directly linked to possession, but it is also linked to prosperity. Please note that by prosperity I am not speaking of prosperity as we know and have heard it in terms of health and wealth. When I speak of prosperity I mean the congregation of the children of Israel prolonging their days in the midst of the land into which the Lord their God was bringing them into. What I am referencing and what I am speaking of is the congregation of the children of Israel prolonging their days in the midst of the land through obedience to the Law of the Lord and to that which He had commanded and instructed them. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for the land was absolutely and utterly worthless and useless without and apart from the law that would not only allow them to enter into it, but would also allow them to remain within its borders and boundaries.

Within and throughout this Old Testament book there is this constant theme and constant thread interwoven throughout its pages and its words as this new generation was brought to the place of remembering that which the Lord their God had spoken unto them—and not only unto them, but also unto their fathers. There would have been some present in this generation which were not present at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness, and did not see the lightnings and hear the thunders. There were some present in this generation which were not present at the mountain of God and beheld the thick clouds and thick darkness that enveloped the top of the mountain where the glory and presence of the Lord was. As this new generation prepared to cross over the river Jordan and enter into the land which the Lord had prepared for them there was this great and underlying need to be reminded of the words which the Lord had spoken unto them, for those words would need to be taught and passed down throughout the generations as the children of Israel began to inherit and inhabit the land into which they had been brought. It is absolutely and utterly fascinating to think about and consider the fact that the Lord God of the Hebrews was not willing to allow them to enter into the land without reminding them of that which He had spoken unto their fathers, and that which He had commanded them. REMEMBER WHAT HE SAID, REMEMBER WHAT HE SPOKE! REMEMBER WHAT HE DID, REMEMBER WHAT YOU DID! This constant theme and underlying current found within this particular Old Testament book is quite astonishing when and as you take the time to think about it, for it brings you face to face with the tremendous reality that this generation would not receive something new from the Lord, but would receive that which the Lord had already spoken unto them in previous generations. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for when you seek to read the words found within this book you will find and discover that Moses sought nothing more than to simply remind them of what the Lord God had already spoken—even what the Lord had already written on two tablets of stone. The entire Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is essentially a reminder for this generation concerning that which the Lord their God had already spoken unto them. In all reality, I would dare say that what we find in this Old Testament book is essentially a blueprint and pattern for how we are to live in this generation, and as we are reminded of the words which the Lord our God has spoken unto us.

The more I read and the more I study the words which are found within this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy the more I am confronted and come face to face with the tremendous fact that the word which this generation of the children of Israel needed was before them the entire time they journeyed through the wilderness. The word which the Lord their God had spoken unto their fathers forty years earlier had not changed, nor had it been altered simply because they experienced His breach of promise. It is absolutely and utterly fascinating to think about and consider the fact that despite the fact that that first generation would not enter into the land of Canaan which the Lord had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the word which the Lord had spoken and given unto them would and could not be changed, nor could it be altered. The word which Moses was speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab was the same word which he had previously spoken unto their fathers a generation earlier, and it would and could not be altered, nor could it be changed. It would be very easy to think that the word which was given and the word which was spoken unto that first generation would somehow be altered for the second generation as they would be the ones who would enter into the land of Canaan, however, this simply would not be the case. The word which was spoken unto that first generation would be the same word which was spoken unto this second generation, and would be the word that would govern them as they entered into, and as they inhabited the land which was promised unto their fathers. The entire Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is a powerful reminder given unto this generation that would enter into the land of Canaan—a reminder concerning that which the Lord had spoken unto them, as well as that which the Lord had done among them during and throughout those forty years they wandered in the wilderness waiting for that first generation to perish. As you read the words which are found within this Old Testament book it is absolutely necessary to consider and come face to face with the awesome and wonderful reality that not only had the Lord their God not changed, but neither had the word which He had spoken unto them. Not only had the word which the Lord their God spoken unto them not changed, but neither had His promises, nor His faithfulness. If we are going to truly understand what is found within this Old Testament book it is imperative that we think about and consider the absolutely tremendous truth that although this was a new generation that would be entering into the land of Canaan, they would enter in with an understanding of the same word which was spoken unto their fathers in the wilderness.

Before I delve into that which is written and recorded within the chapters that are before us, it is absolutely necessary to consider one of the greatest realities found within the words Moses spoke unto this new generation which stood before him in the plains of Moab. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters—particularly and especially when you read the opening chapters—you will find Moses not only recounting what the Lord their God had spoken unto their fathers, but he also reminded them of the faithfulness of the Lord during that forty year period of time. Even though this generation bore the iniquities and whoredoms of their fathers in the wilderness for forty years they would journey through the wilderness and would ultimately come to the plains of Moab having experienced the faithfulness of the living God for an entire generation. Pause for a moment and consider that reality—the reality of the faithfulness of God for an entire generation. Not only had the word which the Lord spoken unto their fathers endured for an entire generation, but the promises which the Lord had made to their fathers had also endured for an entire generation. Even more than this—we must recognize and realize how long the promises of God had endured for the descendants of Abraham, for not only had His promised endured through and during the generations of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, but they had also endured for four-hundred and thirty years of slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt. What’s more, is that those same promises had endured an additional forty years of wandering and journeying within and through the vast wilderness. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that for four-hundred and thirty years of slavery, and for forty years of wandering in the wilderness the promises which the Lord had spoken and given unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had endured and would not be negated. Neither slavery, nor bondage, nor oppression, nor the pursuit of the enemy at the Red Sea, nor forty years of wandering in the wilderness could stop or hinder the promises of God from being fulfilled in the earth. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that for close to five hundred years—not including the generations of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph—the promises of God for and toward His people remained and withstood the test of generations. For close to half a millennia the promises of God would remain fully intact, and the only thing that would or could alter the promise was the transgression and rebellion of the people of God.

Pause for a moment and think about the absolutely incredible reality that the promises of God would and could not be altered for nearly a half a millennia, and yet there was only one thing that could alter the promise of God—the disobedience of the people with whom the promise was given. What’s more, and what we must also recognize and understand is that even when there was a breach in the promise of the living God for His people, the promise itself was not voided, but would simply be delayed. Stop for a moment and think about the fact that the first generation which emerged from the slavery and bondage of Egypt, and the generation which passed through the waters of the Red Sea could very well have also entered into the land of Canaan, however, their disobedience and rebellion to the command of the living God restricted them from being able to enter in. What’s more, is that their disobedience and rebellion would not at all void the promises of the living God, but would delay it for an entire generation as their bodies would fall and perish in the wilderness. I can’t help but be absolutely amazed with and by the fact that not only had the promises of God withstood more than four centuries of slavery in the land of Egypt, but they had also withstood an entire generation in the midst of the wilderness. What’s more, is that the word which the Lord God of the Hebrews had spoken unto that first generation which emerged from Egypt had withstood the test of time, and was the very same word that was spoken unto their sons and daughters, and to their sons and daughters. A new generation emerging from within the wilderness would and could not require or necessitate an entirely new revelation, nor would it require an entirely new word from the LORD, but it would retain that word which had already been spoken unto their fathers—and even that which had been inscribed on tablets of stone. How utterly fascinating it is to consider the fact that not only had the promises of God endured for close to half a millennia, and not only had the word of God endured for an entire generation, but the faithfulness of God was manifested and experienced in the hearts and lives of the congregation of the children of Israel over and during that period of forty years in the wilderness. Consider the following words which were written and recorded within this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy:

“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a lan of oil olive, and honety; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou maytest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day” (Deuteronomy 8:1-11).

With these words we encounter the absolutely tremendous reality that for that period of forty years the congregation of the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness they experienced the manifest faithfulness of God. It is absolutely impossible to read the words which are found within those verses of the eighth chapter and not be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that for a period of forty years—even though this second generation was essentially waiting for the generation of their fathers to perish and fall in the wilderness, they witnessed and beheld the faithfulness of the Lord their God who supernaturally and miraculously provided, protected and preserved them during that period of time. What’s interesting to note, however, is that despite the fact that the Lord was faithful unto them during those forty years, that didn’t mean that they would not experience trying and difficult times along the way. Moses clearly spells out for them how the Lord allowed them to hunger, and even allowed them to thirst in order that they might know and understand the Lord their God the way He desired to be known and understood by them. It’s worth noting and understanding that during those forty years—even though the Lord miraculously and supernaturally provided for them, He would allow them to experience hunger and thirst in order that they might know and understand that it was the Lord alone who provided for them. What’s more, is that it would be during those forty years where the Lord would supernaturally preserve their raiment during that period of forty years. Pause for a moment and consider whether or not it was possible that for a period of forty years the congregation of the children of Israel might have worn the same clothes. The LORD clearly states that He preserved their raiment in this passage, which either means that He preserved the same raiment which they wore, or He preserved multiple changes or raiment which they had in order that they might have clothing during that period of forty years. It’s absolutely remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the absolutely astounding reality that during those forty years the Lord the God of the Hebrews watched over the congregation the entire forty years they journeyed through the wilderness.

I sit here today and I find myself being absolutely captivated and astounded with the fact that the promises which the LORD—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Israel—promised in each of those generations would withstand the slavery, bondage and oppression of Egypt, and would even withstand forty years of the congregation of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. The promises which the Lord God made unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob would even endure and withstand the temptations of the children of Israel in the wilderness—and even though they would experience His breach of promise when He declared their bodies would fall in the wilderness, there would be a generation that would experience those promises firsthand. What’s more, is that while it is absolutely incredible that the promises of God withstood more than four hundred years of slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt, as well as the various life experiences which Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph faced during their generations, we must understand that the word of God also withstood the test of time. As you read the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find that there are these two currents which flow side by side together with the congregation of the children of Israel, for the one current were the promises which the Lord had spoken unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the other current was the word which the LORD God of the Hebrews had spoken unto them through His servant Moses. The more you read and the more you study the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, the more you will encounter and come face to face with the strong reality that the words which the LORD God of the children of Israel had spoken unto their fathers would withstand those forty years they wandered in the wilderness, and there would eventually come a time when this generation would need to encounter and come face to face with the commands, the statutes, the decrees and instructions which were spoken unto their fathers. There would come the time when this new generation would need to hear the words the Lord their God had spoken unto their fathers, and would need to carry out that which their fathers would and could not because of their disobedience in the wilderness. What is so absolutely incredible about that which is found in these chapters is that this new generation was preparing to enter into the land which their fathers had rejected and despised, and as a result of their entering into the land, they would need to be reminded of the words and commands the Lord had spoken unto their fathers.

THE YEAR OF RELEASE! RELEASE AND REST! THOU SHALT NOT HARDEN THY HEART, NOR SHUT THINE HAND! OPEN THINE HAND WIDE! LEND SUFFICIENT FOR HIS NEED! THINE HEART SHALL NOT BE GRIEVED WHEN THOU GIVE! THE POOR SHAL NEVER CEASE OUT OF THE LAND! YOU ARE TO SEND NO ONE AWAY EMPTY-HANDED! REMEMBERING THE FEASTS! REMEMBERING THE APPOINTED TIMES OF WORSHIP! RESPECTING THE LEVITES! CITIES OF REFUGE! When and as you come to the words that are found within these chapters you will find Moses continuing to speak to this new generation which stood before him in the plains of Moab and instructing them in righteousness before the Lord. What’s more, is that when you think about and consider the words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel you will find him repeating the words which the Lord their God spoke unto their fathers in that previous generation. I continue to be absolutely and utterly amazed at the fact that despite forty years in the wilderness, and despite the death of that entire first generation, the word of God remained active and alive within and in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel. With that being said and with that understanding it’s necessary that we think about and consider the absolutely tremendous reality that part of what made up the words which had withstood the test of time during that period of forget years was a set of instructions concerning the land—and not only concerning the land, but also concerning how they were to live their lives while living and dwelling in the midst of the land. It’s worth noting and pointing out that when you think about the law and word the living God had spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel you will find that there were certain and specific commands which would not come into effect until they had entered into the land into which He would bring them. This same type of reality is found in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, for within these chapters we find the living God making man in His image and creating him after His likeness. What’s more, is you will find the living God forking man from the dust of the earth and then breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. It’s worth taking a look at the fact that when man was formed of the fiat of the ground he was formed outside the garden and was not placed in the garden until after the living God had breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. What’s more, is that as you consider this reality you will find that it wasn’t while Adam was outside the garden he received the command of the Lord, but rather it was as he was planted and placed in the garden that he was given the command from the Lord. It is absolutely necessary and imperative to think about and consider the fact that the command given unto Adam was directly and intrinsically linked to the garden and to his being planted in the midst of it. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for it help to further illustrate the awesome reality concerning the command and word of God and that which He has brought us into and has planted us within.

I sit here this morning and I can’t wok but think about and consider the absolutely astounding and remarkable reality that what we find within the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and now Deuteronomy, is a wonderful and powerful picture of words, of laws, and of commands which would and could not come into effect until the inhabitants of the land were and had been driven out, and until the people of Israel had begun to dwell in and occupy the land. As you read the words found within these books you will find and discover that there were certain and specific commands that were directly and explicitly linked to the land into which the congregation of the children of Israel were being brought into. Some of those commands are found within these chapters that are before us right now, for within these chapters you will find Moses speaking unto the children of Israel concerning how they were to live upon entering into the land, for while they were in the land they were to observe the law of release. If you take the time to study the words and commands the living God had spoken unto the congregation and children of Israel you will find that He provided them with very specific instruction concerning the seventh year and what each and every seventh year would represent for them. The words you find within this passage of scripture is essentially one part of the mystery surrounding the seventh year, for if you truly study the words and laws which were spoken concerning the seventh year you will find that the living God ordained that the seventh year be set apart as holy unto Him as a sabbath year of rest. If you read these particular Books of Moses you will find that the seventh year was to be set apart and consecrated as holy before and unto the living God as a year when they were to rest from all their labor and work. It would be during the seventh year they were not to do any manual labor, nor were they to sow or reap within their fields. It’s absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that while it is true that the sabbath covered weeks within the year, the sabbath also governed weeks of years. WEEKS OF THE YEAR, WEEKS OF YEARS! It is true that the Lord hallowed and consecrated the seventh day as holy unto Him and as a day when man was to rest from all his works and labor, however, it is also true that there was a similar command that was given unto the children of Israel concerning the seventh year, for the seventh year was to be a year of rest and respite—a year when the land would lie fallow as there would neither be sowing, nor would their be reaping.

I find it remarkable to think about and consider the fact that as you come to the words which are found within these chapters you will find the Lord continuing to speak concerning the sabbath, yet here He is not speaking of the sabbath as it pertains to one day during the week when the people of God were to rest from their labors and were to do no work. Within these chapters we find the living God speaking of a different sabbath, and one that did not touch or govern a single day, but rather an entire year. As you read the words that are found before us within this passage you will find that there were specific commands and laws that were to govern the seventh year while the congregation of the children of Israel were to dwell within and inhabit the land. The words that are before us in this passage of scruffier clearly state and clearly reveal the tremendous truth that there were specific laws and commands that governed the sabbath year which was every seventh year. It’s worth pointing out that the sabbath year would be consecrated and holy unto the Lord for two distinct purposes in the midst of His people. The sabbath year was consecrated and set apart as holy unto the living God—not only as a period of rest for the congregation of the children of Israel, but also as a period of release. As you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find that every seventh year was to be a year of rest as the land was to remain fallow as the people of God would cease from sowing and reaping, and from gathering in their vineyards, in their olive groves, and in their fields. During the seventh year there was to be absolutely no work or labor that was done in the midst of the land that the land might be at rest and that the poor might be cared for and provided for. The seventh year for the congregation of the children of Israel as they inhabited and dwelt within the land was to be a year when both they and the lane lied at rest before the Lord their God as they would live off the increased provision the Lord their God had provided for them in and during the sixth year. Just as the Lord would provide mamma enough on the sixth day in the wilderness to sustain the children of Israel for both the sixth and sabbath days, so also would the Lord provide an increase during the did the year as they would not only enjoy the fruit of the land during the sixth and seventh years, but they would also be enjoying that fruit during the eighth year. Moreover, the living God declared that when it came to the ninth year—two years removed from the the sabbath—the people of Israel would still be eating of the old fruit of the land while harvesting and reaping from the ninth year. Pause for a moment and think about the absolutely astounding reality that surrounds the sabbath rest of the week, as well as the sabbath rest of years, and how the Lord would miraculously and supernaturally provide for the congregation of the children of Israel enough to sustain them during the time of rest. How wonderful it is to think that the day and year of rest is not only about the rest itself, but also enjoying the divine provision of the living God within our lives as He would provide more than enough for His people.

When you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord providing further instruction concerning this seventh year which the children of Israel would have in the midst of the land. It’s necessary to pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that once the Lord brought the congregation of the children of Israel into the land, He had absolutely no interest, nor any desire in removing them from the land. The simple fact that the Lord began speaking about the seventh year during their time in the land of Canaan is a tremendous testament and powerful word concerning the fact the Lord had brought the congregation of the children of Israel into the land in order that they might inherit and occupy the land for all generations—from that first generation which would enter into and conquer and subdue the land, to the final generation that would be found within the land before the return of Christ. It’s worth noting that at this point there hadn’t been any mention of the return of Christ, however, we must understand that the children of Israel were to have as their possession in the earth the land of Israel for each and every generation until the time of Christ’s return. With that being said, it is absolutely astounding to think about and consider the wonderful truth concerning the seventh and sabbath year, for while the seventh year was to be a year of rest from all the labor which the congregation of the children of Israel were to do in the midst of the land, it was also to be a year of release. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verses of this chapter you will find Moses declaring unto the congregation of the children of Israel that at the end of every seven years they were to make a release. The manner in which the congregation of the children of Israel were to make a release was in terms of every creditor which lended unto his neighbour should release the debt which his neighbor owed him. It’s worth noting and pointing out that the LORD commanded the congregation of the children of Israel that at the end of every seventh year they were to release any and every debt that was owed—regardless of how great or how small that debt was. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that this release, which was called “The Lord’s Release” was not specific to smaller debt versus larger debt. The Lord’s Release in the midst of the land during the seventh year was to be a release of any and all debt—regardless of how great or how small that was. What’s more, is that the year of release doesn’t suggest, nor does it speak that the debt was not owed, but that the debt was to be wiped out and erased in full. It made no difference whether or not the debt was owed, nor did it make any difference how much of the debt was still owed, for whatever was still owed unto that one who lent would need to be forgiven and would need to be released. That debt would not be permitted to remain at the end of the seventh year, for that debt was to be released.

DEBT OWED, YET DEBT RELEASED AND DEBT FORGIVEN! It’s absolutely remarkable to think about and consider this law of release, for it would happen every seventh year at the end of the year, as all those who had lent unto their brothers would release the remaining portion of the debt. Pause for a moment and think about what this would look like in our generation and in our society, for how many countless thousands—if not millions—of men and women are in debt right now? How many men and women right now are in debt with credit cards, are in debt with student loans, are in debt with car payments, and are in debt with houses and mortgages? Imagine what it would have looked like if student loan debt was present in the land of Israel, and even if mortgages was present in the midst of the land of Israel during this period of time. Consider what the year and law of the Lord’s release would have looked like as all this debt—debt which at one point was rightfully owed—would be completely erased and completely released. Imagine the sheer and utter relief countless men and women would experience within their hearts and souls if the debt which they owed was released at the end of the seventh year, for the Lord had commanded that the debt which was rightfully owed would be released. I can’t help but wonder what this would look like in our culture and society if at the end of every seventh year we released all debt that was owed. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous impact this would have on banks and financial institutions in the land during our generation and in the midst of the land in which we are living. Imagine what would happen if major banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and others were forced to cancel and release each and every debt that was owed unto them. Imagine what would happen to the financial industry and how much it would be transformed if during every seventh year all debt that was owed was released and simply let go that what was owed would not be exacted, nor would it be collected. Imagine walking away from whatever debt you owed at the end of every seventh year, and no longer having that debt which you yourself would pay to the one who had indeed and had in fact lent to you. Imagine what the land of Israel would have potentially looked like during the seventh year as not only did the land lie fallow and lie at rest, but there was also a great period of release which took place at the end of the year.

As I sit here this morning and think about and consider this absolutely astonishing reality of all manner and all form of debt which was owed being released at the end of the seventh year, I can’t help but think about how every seventh year would directly point to an even greater reality and an even greater manifestation of release that would take place within the land of Israel. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found within the twenty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus you will find the the Lord speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning their entering into and coming into the land, and not only speaking unto them concerning the seventh year, which was to be a sabbath year of rest, but also concerning a period of seven sevenths as every fiftieth year was to have its own meaning within and among the congregation of the children of Israel. If and as you read and study the words which are found within this particular chapter within the Old Testament book of Leviticus you will find and discover the absolutely astonishing reality that in the opening verses of the chapter the Lord clearly speaks concerning the seventh year and what the seventh year was to be for the congregation of the children of Israel, but also what every seventh year would ultimately lead to. If you begin reading with and from the opening and first verse of the chapter you will encounter and come face to face with the following reality:

“And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and hateth in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow they field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, and for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat” (Leviticus 25:1-7).

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not so we, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine. Undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. IN the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: according to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbors, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: according to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the prices thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 25:8-17).

It’s absolutely necessary to consider the words which are found within the twenty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus, for what we find here is directly linked and directly connected to the words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab. When speaking unto their fathers Moses declared unto them that every seventh year was to be a sabbath year of rest, as they were to rest from their labor and sowing in the land that it might lie at rest among them. It would be that seventh year that the land was to remain fallow as they were neither to sow, nor reap, nor even gather in the midst of the land, that the poor and the afflicted among them might be cared for in their midst. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found within this particular chapter you will find that each and every sabbath year—each and every seventh year—was itself a sign pointing to an even greater reality, which was the year of release and return for the congregation of the children of Israel. It’s absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that during the seventh year there was to be a period of rest, but every seventh year would itself point to the fiftieth year which was to be a year of Jubilee in the midst of the people. That fiftieth year would be a year of release, as the trumpet was to be sounded and as liberty was to be proclaimed throughout the land. If you take the time to read and study the words which are found within these chapters you will encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that every seventh year was to be a sabbath year before and unto the living God as the seventh year was to be a year of rest, as well as a year of release. I feel the great need to pause right here and think about the principle of the sabbath within our own hearts and within our own lives, and think about what the sabbath should mean for and unto us. I can’t help but think about the fact that the sabbath for us should be a period of rest from all our labor, all our striving, all our works, and the like, but what if it’s also to be a period of release within our lives as we release that which we feel others owe to us? What if the sabbath is to be a point during our week and a point during our lives when we release that which might rightfully be owed unto us, and/or that which we feel might be owed unto us? I would dare say that more often than not that which we feel others owe unto us is a direct result of our own sense of entitlement and our own sense of expectation rather than reality and truth. Pause for a moment and think about and consider what you feel others in your life somehow owe you. Think about what you feel those before you and those around you might owe you—that which you feel rightfully belongs to you.

The more I think about and the more I consider the sabbath year, the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that the sabbath year was not only a period of release which was to be experienced by the congregation of the children of Israel, but the sabbath was also to be a period of rest for the inhabitants of the land. Stop and think for a moment and consider what it would be like if you took the sabbath to not only rest from your labors and to rest from your striving, but also to release that which you feel others might owe to you. Stop and think about what it would be like if within and upon every sabbath during the week you rested according to the word and command of the living God, and rested from all your labor and all your striving. What would your life be like if you took each and every sabbath and committed it unto the Lord as a period of rest from all your labour and all your striving as you not only enjoyed the rest and respite, but also enjoyed the provision of the Lord? Please don’t’ miss and lose sight of the truth that the sabbath year was not only to be a year of enjoying rest, but it was also to be a year when the people of God enjoyed the provision of the Lord—that which He had provided for them during the sixth year—and not only provided them during the sixth year, but also provided enough to sustain them for the sixth and seventh years, and even into the eighth year. I can’t help but think about and consider how absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is for the sabbath, and how the sabbath was to be a period of rest for the congregation of the children of Israel, as well as a period of release before and unto the Lord. Any and all debt which was owed unto any of the congregation and people of Israel was to be released at the end of every seventh year, and was not to be held over the head of anyone else. Think about and consider what that would and what that could have looked like among the congregation of the children of Israel each and every sabbath year. Think about and consider what it would have been like for those among the people of Israel to release their brother from that debt which they owed to them. Think about what it would have been like as for six years their brother and/or their neighbor would have owed them a debt and would have paid that debt, and yet at the end of every seventh year that debt would be paid. Think about and consider the tremendous truth of what that would do for the culture and society among the children of Israel when they would release the debts which were owed unto them, and as men and women would be released of any and every debt they owed.

It’s absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that this year and time of release was not only to be a period of time when all debts were cancelled and released, but it was also to be a period of time among the people of Israel when the children of Israel were to look after and care for the poor. As you continue reading the words found within these chapters you will encounter and come face to face with the absolutely tremendous and incredible reality that the congregation of the children of Israel was to not only look after and care for themselves, but they were also to give themselves to the poor, to the needy and to the afflicted in the land. The congregation of the children of Israel were instructed that they ought never to borrow from any nation round about them, and were able to lend unto them only. It’s quite unique to think about and consider the words and language which the living God spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel during this time, for the Lord declared that if there was a poor man among them within any of their gates, they were not to harden their heart, nor were they to shut their hand from their poor brother. Instead and rather those in the land of Israel were to open their hand wide unto them, and should surely lend him sufficient for his need, and according to what he wanted. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for as surely and as much as the living God had spoken concerning releasing that was owed, the Lord would also speak concerning giving unto to those which were in need, and those which were poor and afflicted among the congregation of the children of Israel. It’s absolutely astounding to think about and consider that the children of Israel were not only instructed to commit themselves at the end of every seventh year to release all manner of debt, but also to give unto the poor as much as they need and would desire. The children of Israel were not to shut their hearts, nor were they to harden their hearts to the poor, to the needy and to the afflicted within the land, but were to open their hearts wide unto them, and open their hands wide unto those which were present among them and were in need. We ought not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for it has the ability to dramatically alter and transform the way we live our lives, and how we interact with those which are before and among us within the land in which we are living. We dare not and ought not think about and consider—even for a moment—that this principle concerning the sabbath somehow doesn’t apply unto us, and that we ought not to observe or even consider it. The truth of the matter is that this law and principle of the sabbath must govern our lives within this generation as we are willing to release that which we feel others might owe unto us, and that which others might owe unto us. Pause for a moment and consider what you feel others might owe unto you, and consider what it would look like if you were truly willing to let it go and release it—and not only release it unto them, but also release it unto and before the Lord. There is within this passage a great challenge—not only to engage ourselves in the sabbath of rest, but also in the sabbath of release, for while the entire year was to be governed by rest, the end of the year was to be governed by release. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a tremendous need within our hearts and lives to engage ourselves in the practice of the sabbath of rest and the sabbath of release, as we not only rest from our labor, from our striving and from our work, but also as we release that which we feel might be owed unto us, and that which might in fact be owed unto us. Oh that we would be willing to release what we feel others might owe unto us, and that we would truly let go and give everything unto the Lord our God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s