What god is like our God? He instituted a national debt cancellation program - a national bankruptcy - to prevent the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few, and to relieve those overburdened with debt.
National debt cancellation
In Deuteronomy 15 the Lord commands every 7th year to be a cancellation of debts. Any servants who were Jewish serving Jewish masters were released. Following this command was so important that it was mentioned by Moses in his last words to the nation before his death, in Deuteronomy 31:10.
National bankruptcy and return of property
In Leviticus 25: 8-17 we see a larger national bankruptcy - a national cancellation of real estate debt, every 50 years, called the Year of Jubilee. God mentions that real estate is to be valued in a pro-rated way depending on the time until the next 50th year, with special considerations of homes on a walled city and for the Levites.
If you are buying a house from someone on year 2 then the value would be more because there would be 48 years until Jubilee when that home would be returned to the family that had sold it. But if you are buying it on year 45 then the value would be less because there are only 5 years to Jubilee. What God is so thoughtful to build in a national cancellation of debt so that no one person could accumulate great wealth?
Give the vines, trees, and grain a rest
Furthermore, God commanded in Leviticus 25 that they may farm and work orchards and vineyards and gather the harvest for 6 years, but on the 7th year they must let it all go wild. Every 7th year was a year off from working the fields, orchards and vines.
Think about all this: A day of rest weekly, 6+ weeks vacation per year, 1 year off from work for newlyweds, every 7th year off from farming...what a kind and thoughtful God. Truly He made us human be-ings not human do-ings. And this was all written into the Mosaic law. What god/goddess in the area, what god in our time, takes such good care of his/her people? There is but one true God - and He is good!
They were to let the grain, vines, and trees grow and produce without any pruning or harvesting the 7th year, and He promised the 6th year would provide for 3 years* - it would be so much it would provide for that year, and for the 7th which was the year of rest, through the 8th which was also the start of the next cycle. (*v21)
Long memory to keep His promises
In Exodus 17: 14-17 God promised to Moses to destroy Amalek off the face of the earth because they ambushed and fought against the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. The man for whom they were named, Amalek, was a grandson of Esau*, making them cousins, which made their hatred for Israel worse. (*Genesis 36:12)
Some 400 years later we see King Saul being told by the Lord through the prophet Samuel, to go to war against Amalek and destroy every single one of them: "I remember what Amalek did to Israel, how he laid in wait for Israel (to ambush them) when they came out of Egypt." I Samuel 15:1-3
You may recall that King Saul saved the King of the Amalekites alive, King Agag, the head of his family line called the Agagites. While he was eventually executed, some of his family survived. How do we know this? Because some 500 years after King Saul and 900 years after God first promised to Moses, we learn this of the man who sought to destroy the Jews when Esther was queen in Esther 8:3:
"And Esther spoke again with the king, falling at his feet. She wept and begged him for mercy, that he might nullify the evil of Haman the Agagite and the plot he had intended against the Jews." Haman is identified as an Agagite a total of 5 times in the book of Esther. (3:1,10; 8:3,5; 9: 24)
It took 900 years, but God kept His promise to Moses and Israel to wipe out the Amalekites who hated their cousins, Israel. When He speaks to us about a loved one's salvation - He gives peace they will end up in heaven - remember His promise to Moses that took 900 years to come to pass - He is faithful and it will happen. Rest in that peace.
A vision I saw
I was laying hands on people who came forward for prayer at the end of a service, and one of them was a young man struggling with depression and the pressures of life. Suddenly I saw the Lord above us, with a woman who though appearing to be in her mid-30's in heaven's glory, also had a look of age to her face. She didn't speak.
The Lord said to me that she was this young man's grandmother, who had so faithfully prayed for him. The Lord told me to tell the young man what I was seeing and this: "Tell him she was faithful to pray for him while she was on the earth, and I made promises to her about you. And now she is with me and before the face of the Father. What she said to you is true. You will struggle but you WILL overcome. Just walk with Me and everything will be okay."
He was amazed and then told me about his grandmother who had died some months earlier. She had a huge impact on his life and part of his depression and struggles was feeling that void in his life. The Lord was so gracious to encourage him by letting him know his grandmother is still very much alive - and with the Lord! He realized that day he had not lost her after all, and he was greatly encouraged that day.
Our God is alive, and is Life: That's the difference
In Hebrews 9: 15-20 the writer makes the point a 'testament' is not in effect until the one who made it dies. His point is that Jesus made His 'last will and testament' and then died which put it into effect, and then rose from the dead to become the Executor of His own Estate.
Jesus is doing something no one has ever done before - made a will, died, then rose to see it is executed according to His wishes. All other gods are dead, demonic, mere philosophies, mere figures or other wise life-less. Who we have is alive, and we know Him.
We are different - we know God. And He is as James wrote in 1: 16-17: "Do not fall into error my dear brothers and sisters; Every good and generous gift comes down from the Father of lights, in whom there is no variation nor the slightest hint of change." and I Corinthians 1:9: "The Father is faithful, by whom you were called in fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
He is good, considerate, giving, generous, and also meek, lowly, and approachable. We have only to say, no, we have only to think, "Father..." and we are before His throne. He is Creator and Head of the universe, yet we have access. Amazing grace and kindness to us, His children. Amen.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,
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