This week’s parsha is from Leviticus 25-26:2 and Jeremiah 32:6-27. We are still in Leviticus, but this week’s parsha is pretty brief and I am excited to get into the book of Numbers in a few weeks! Behar means “on the mount” because the parsha begins with God speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai. What God tells Moses has to do with giving the land rest. This rest was a test of faith for Israel because like with the manna in the wilderness they could not make food appear for themselves, they had to trust that God would provide enough ahead of time in order for them to survive. Every seven years the land was to have a rest and then every 7th cycle of 7 years there was to be a year of Jubilee for the land. In this year slaves were to be released and land was to be returned to its original owner. All of this, like shabbat, was a reminder that all time, land, and people ultimately belong to God and we are dependent not on ourselves, but on him.
The Haftorah is a prophecy concerning the restitution of the children of Israel to their land. Though they were in exile at the time of Jeremiah, God had not forgotten them and would return them to their home.
Leviticus 25:23 says “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.” I really like the picture of Israel and of believers as being aliens, strangers, sojourners, or foreigners. This parsha reminds me of 1 Peter 1:14-19, because Peter is writing to Jewish followers of Jesus who are enduring persecution for their faith. He encourages them to remember that their true master is God and that their true home is in Heaven. He says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
Like the land and even servants in the sabbatical and jubilee years, we belong to God. Because of Yeshua, we have been bought by God, redeemed–and we belong to him. This week, let us encourage one another with the reality that though we live among sinful people in a fallen world, we belong to God and our home is in Heaven. We don’t need to be redeemed again each week or even every 7 years, or 50 years, but Yeshua accomplished our once and for all redemption. What hope we have in him!
Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal!