Tag Archives: labor

Leviticus 27 – Belonging to God

I was not expecting the last chapter of Leviticus (the book of the law) to be what it is.  I don’t quite know what i was expecting.  For some reason i figured it would be about some parting words the LORD had for Moses before leaving Mount Sinai, or that Moses and the sons of Israel packed up what they had and began to head out to Canaan.

Instead this last chapter is about value, ownership, dedication to the LORD, and tithe.  It starts out placing a monetary value on people of different ages.  Each has a different value depending on their age, sex, and the amount of time until the year of jubilee.  What i think is interesting about this is that it pushes this concept that ownership of people, animals, homes, and land only truly belongs to the LORD / YHWH.

When most things of true value are sold or redeemed, they are done so with reference to the year of Jubilee.  If a field is dedicated to the LORD, the priest places the value of that field at a certain price, related to how many years until the year of jubilee.  After which the LORD reverts that land back to the family that He initially gave it to.

Thus it is not slavery, but servanthood.  When a person is “sold”, they are done so in reference to the amount of labor that person would do between then and the year of jubilee.  It is understood that the “Master” is not “buying” a person.  They are simply paying for service from a person for a certain time period.  This would be similar to a person signing a contract to work for a company for a certain number of years.

The other major theme is that of tithe.  Of all of the animals that the people of Israel own, one out of every 10 must be returned to God.  As they go through the gate, every 10th, whether male or female, the pick of the flock or a little sickly one, the 10th gets dedicated to Him.  Also, the first that opens the womb is holy to YHWH.  Thus the first lamb, the first goat, the first bull, etc. that are born; they must be dedicated to YHWH and returned to Him.

The emphasis here is ownership.  Everything; the land, the people, the flocks, the fruit of the harvest, they all belong to YHWH.  We are simply caretakers receiving back a part of the profits from our hard work.  Do we view life and our work  that way?  Do we recognize that all that we “own” belongs not to us but to YHWH?  Do we treat people and our things as if this is the case?  Should we?

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Leviticus 2 – The Grain Offering

If Leviticus 1 was all about the very basis of the sacrificial system (blood sacrifice) and its basis is the end of life, then Leviticus 2 is all about the celebration of life.  The grain offering is an offering of the fruit of the earth.  It is the fruit of the toil of man.  Man works 6 days a week, and he rests one.  His work is to bring food and provision for himself and his family.  God is the one that gives that provision.  He creates the seasons and produces the harvest.  He defines growth, life, and hope.  The grain and first fruits offerings are a celebration of that.

With the celebration of life is creativity and choices.  I see this represented here in the numerous ways that a grain offering can be prepared and presented.  It can come as just the grain with oil and frankincense, or it can come having been baked in an oven, or it can come from a griddle, or from a pan, or roasted in the fire.  Each has a reason and a purpose, and each can be an acceptable sacrifice and offering to the Lord.

A common theme here is that in each of these, part of the offering is sacrificed, and the other belongs to the priests.  They do not work without receiving from the fruit of their labor, and this is the fruit of their labor.

Also, what is the issue with leaven?  YHWH really can’t seem to stand it in anything that is offered to Him.  I don’t know why.  I know He has His reasons, but i certainly don’t know them.

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Exodus 7 – Signs

What do you do when God does a miracle in your presence?  How do you respond when He sends a message with power?  What does it take to convince you to change your mind and to do the right thing when you are set on the wrong thing?

Pharaoh comes face to face with Moses, and YHWH makes a move.  Pharaoh has a choice to make.  Obey this “God” of the Israelites, and lose all of the cheap labor that has helped to grow cities and his empire?  Or, not?  Moses and Aaron can do these amazing wonders, but so can his magicians.  Now granted, Moses & Aaron’s staff / snake devours his magician’s staff / snakes, but that’s their problems not his.  Why should he be concerned?

Then Moses & Aaron turn the Nile into blood.  That’s a little bit more of an inconvenience, after all, the kingdom relies on the Nile river.  Then again, the magicians can do the same thing.  So what does Pharaoh do next?  He goes back to his house with no real concern for the situation.  However, seven days later, the magicians have not yet figured out how to change the Nile back to water.  I’m sure that that may have become a little disconcerting.

What about us?  Is God / YHWH trying to speak to us?  Does He give us signs day after day that He is real and we need to look to Him?  Do we ignore Him, considering His miracles no more than coincidences and conveniences or inconveniences?  Do we ignore the little things, because they are little, and don’t take seriously where those signs are pointing?

Pharaoh ignored the little things.  As a result, he takes that mentality with him when YHWH begins to do much bigger things.  What will it take for us to come to the point where we cease ignoring the signs pointing at God.  The more we ignore the little things, the more likely it is we will ignore and reject the big things.  We need to open our eyes and see the truth of who God / YHWH is in the little things as well as the big.

LORD, open my eyes and the eyes of the readers.  Help us to see the signs and understand where they are pointing.  Help us to do more than that.  Help us to pursue the God that is pursuing us.  In the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.

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