The beginning of 2009, I was led to study the Bible in a new way (to me). I have been writing down the Scriptures (starting at the Genesis 1), Word for Word, and studying as the Lord leads and time allows. This has been such a MAJOR blessing to me! God has revealed so many new, interesting and exciting things from His Word, that I always want to share. I haven't had time to blog, sooo ... I am going to attempt to marry blogging with my morning study. I hope I can, in some way, impart my blessings to you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

LEVITICUS 25:47-49 ~ Have You Sold Yourself to a Stranger?

I have been on a little hiatus from publishing. It is a blessing to be back to feast on God's Word with you.  While camped in Leviticus, we last shared LEVITICUS 25:44-46 ~ click to review.  There, the LORD had given rules, regarding the purchase of bondmen and bondmaids, which brought up the subject of slavery.  A very important issue in our modern day world ... because, right now, slavery is at the highest numbers, than at any other time in history!

Included in this next portion of Scripture, is the law of goel or ga'al, kinsman redeemer.  There is a beautiful illustration of this in the Book of Ruth.  Of course, this concept is but a shadow of Jesus' role, as our ultimate Kinsman RedeemerHe bought back our eternal souls from the bondage of sin and death, once and for all, through the price He paid (in full) on the cross ... for that we are eternally grateful!
Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld - Ruth in Boaz's Field [1828]

Once again, we warmly invite you to come in, get comfortable and share this morning's measure of manna with us.  We return back to 1445 BC, when this Book of Moses was written.

LEVITICUS 25:47-49:
And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by you, and your brother that dwells by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by you, or to the stock of the stranger's family:  After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is near of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.

:47 ~ And if a sojourner or stranger wax (becomes) rich by (near) you, and your brother that dwells by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by you, or to the stock of the stranger's family:

According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance: 
Sojourner:  guest, foreigner, alien, temporary resident
Stranger:  dweller, especially as distinguished from a native citizen or countryman

Rich:  indicates power, means, or direction - in distinction
Stock:  transplanted, naturalized citizen
Family:  circle of relatives, a tribe or people

LOTS of good information here: Biblos~Context. 

*Note to self:  There is much treasure to be found in this verse, need to dig further. Especially re: the "stock" of the stranger's family.  hmmm

:48 ~ After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:

Redeem: according to the Oriental Law of Kinship = i.e. to be the next of kin and as such to buy back a relative's property, marry his widow, etc. = to do or perform the part of near, next of kin/kinsfolk-man, purchase, ransom, redeem(-er)

Click here: for Biblos~Parallel Commentaries.

:49 ~ Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is near of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, 5381 he may redeem himself.

It was the family's duty to redeem their impoverished relative.  If he had no kin or his kin could not "buy him back," and he had no means to redeem himself; then, he would be released in the Year of JubileeGOD's people were never meant to be permanently sold to strangers.  He made very specific provisions, so that the Israelites could always return to their families and the land that the LORD had given them.

Below are "Words and Images from the people of Yunnan Province, China"  Click, on the link or picture, for a peek into remote cultures that, although not Christian, still depend completely on family and community ... as they have for many generations.
"...three families of relatives helping each other during the busy agricultural season " :Zhao Yuxi: 56-year-old Naxi woman, Lower Nanyao Village

What has happened to us?  What has happened to our sense of duty to and responsibility for our families and communities?  Today, so MANY "strangers" and "sojourners,"  both literally and figuratively, have become very rich in our lands!  Our global culture is changing rapidly.
Yet, due to the present state of the economy, citizens of our own lands are losing their jobs, their homes, their ability to support themselves.  Today, we are 'forced' to take (and/or to remain in) demeaning and/or low paying jobs.  Too often, our employers are as "strangers" or "sojourners."  They treat us like temporary residents; as slaves, not servants ... numbers not names.  They plan to make their money and move on, not caring for the land nor the people that support them.  This is out of God's order!
I do not intend for the cartoon (above) to be a personal statement about Wal Mart stores ... but, to me, this cartoon is symbolic of corporations, in general.  Family owned businesses are getting "swallowed up" by much bigger fish (corporations).  In turn, families are split up and many of us end up working for (selling ourselves to) these larger, more impersonal entities (strangers) to make ends meet.

Unless, we have set aside a "nest egg," or come into an inheritance, what can we do?
Businesses are closing, labor is being "outsourced" ... the unemployment rate soars.  What help do our current systems provide for the poor?  If we are lucky, there is Unemployment Insurance, Welfare Benefits ... but, what relief does this really give?  Is this really solving the problems? ... not usually!  Here and in other countries, the poor are left to beg on the streets, many are literally selling themselves and their children!  I believe that this is happening, because we are not following God's laws and ways.
Click here: for interactive map ... Global Employment Tracking from Gallup.

Families have lost the feeling of responsibility for their kin.   Also our communities for their native and permanent residents.  There is no Jubilee ... which would allow one to start over, debt-free and blame-free.  Thus ... we have the mess, that so many countries are currently in.

I personally, "sold" myself to "strangers," at one point in my life.  I remained, for years, at a job run by ungodly, ruthlessly competitive people.  I endured endless, demeaning mistreatment ... for the financial security that job seemed to provide for me.  However, "making bricks" in "Pharaoh's brickyard" proved to be only profitable to "Pharaoh" (and, to some extent, the "slave-masters" in his employ).
Illustration: by Simon Pemberton

**NOTE: Are any of you being intimidated at work?  Here is an excellent article, from the UK, with sound, practical advice.  Please read: Bully for You: Intimidation at Work.  There is much more information offered; just Google ... bullying at work or intimidation at work.

God never meant for us to remain permanently under "alien" influence.  Employers actually were given a pretty high standard ... to care for the children of Israel as servants, not slaves ...  to employ us, not own us.
Sadly, in every country, there are employers whose bottom line is profit, at any and all cost.  So much unhappiness, depression, stress, displaced anger and illness is caused when we feel trapped under the heavy hand of a boss (or company) who doesn't care for us or our welfare.  However, that feeling that there is no way out, is a LIE from the enemyGod always provides a way and a means for redemption!  Our Kinsman Redeemer lives and He laid down His plan for us, right here in Leviticus, so long ago.

We are God's children ... we are not to be treated poorly!  Is it time to redeem ourselves from our current positions ... to rethink our direction and our source of provision???  Are our employers taking advantage of us and/or cheating us?  Are we wasting the time that we are given on this earth to produce profit for man and not for God?

Are we, have we been, unequally yoked with our employers??  Is there spiritual fruit from the time we have been giving to this person or place?  Have we seriously prayed for confirmation that it is God's will that we work here?  Or ... was it our own idea to "sell ourselves" to these people?  Have we been leaning on our own understanding?  Is there any other way?
'The Ideal Servant': courtesy of Grace Baptist Church

This particular portion of manna has been difficult, for me, to prepare.  I seem to ask myself more questions, the deeper I get into it.  However, for each question, I find but one answer ... God'sHe set up these rules and laws for our own best good.  Simple and clear are His commands.   He indeed has always had a perfect plan for us ... and His ways still ROCK!

Indeed, we are not bound to the Old Testament ... but we have SO MUCH to learn from it.  We could save ourselves so much grief ... by merely following the plans He has already laid out for us.  We need not be dogmatic ... but His rules are really quite practical today and definitely profitable!

Manna was uniquely provided for each family and each person.  I would love to know what the LORD has shown you in this portion of His Word. Would you be so kind as to share with us, your manna for today?

Until we meet again, Totdat we elkaar weer ontmoeten, (Dutch)

We thank You, LORD, for Your Living Word and for all the blessings You bestow on us.

I am blessed every day
with some new revelation of God's Word.
I will be sharing my measure of manna
with all who come to my "tent."
Please, let me know if you have been blessed
by the way it was prepared for you this day.