Gifts

Day 51

Prayer for the day

My lips will sing with joy when I play to you, and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.

Scripture for the day

Leviticus 26-27, Mark 2

Totality. It’s the one word that describes God’s relationship to His people. God requires and deserves the totality of their love, concern, attention, and obedience.

That God cares for each little part of their lives and demands each little part of their lives is the declaration of God’s grace to us: He cares for everything.

God demands this totality because God knows that a tiny sliver of un-dedicated flesh will sink us. He actually provides for it in the teaching today in Leviticus. He says, in essence, that we will fail at this Law. That wonderful things will come if we are one hundred percent faithful, but if we are not, He says He will work to bring us back to faithfulness.

This “bringing back” will be painful. If we prove unfaithful in how we rest the land or how we allow our families to observe Sabbath, if we forget the decrees of God for our good, God will allow painful circumstances to remind us of His goodness to us. And if we allow those painful experiences to be reminders to us, then God will restore what we’ve thrown away, after He has accomplished in the land what He desired for us to accomplish.

This gift of grace carries through to the Second Testament. Jesus’ words about Sabbath created for humanity echo the feeling of the First Testament that the Sabbath was created as a blessing, not as a restriction. Rest is built into God’s design, according to Jesus, and only when we follow God’s design to we understand the purpose for which these gifts were given.

Sabbath was supposed to apply to the people and to the land as a blessing. It was turned into a restriction that could be oppressive.

How many other gifts of God have we turned into oppression?

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