The land needs rest, too. And if Israel doesn’t give the land rest, God says he will punish them by sending them into exile. Discover the overlooked character in the theme of seventh-day rest, the land.
“What we call the natural world in the biblical story is an existence with humans living at odds with our real nature and our environment. (The Land) is not ours to do what we want with.”
In part 1 (0-18:35), Tim and Jon review the conversation so far and quickly go over the Jewish festival calendar year to recap how it reflects the theme of seventh-day rest. They also discuss the Year of Jubilee.
In part 2 (18:35-32:40), Tim shares from Leviticus 26 and talks about the “covenant curses” that God pronounces. If Israel disobeys the commands, they will be exiled. Their exile is portrayed an inverted jubilee. Covenant loyalty will result in Eden blessing, freedom, abundance, and security, much like the jubilee.
“If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full (Heb. שבע, seven) and live securely in your land.
“I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land…
“So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm my covenant with you. You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. Moreover, I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you (cf. Genesis 3:8) and be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”
Tim says the takeaway from this passage is that covenant violation will result in seven anti-jubilee curses, slavery, poverty, and oppression, which is also portrayed with symbolic seven imagery.
Leviticus 26:14-18, 21, 23-24, 27-28, 33-35
“But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.
“If after all this you will not listen to me, I will discipline you for your sins seven times over.
“If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.
“If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.
“If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will discipline you for your sins seven times over.
“I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.”
Jon notes that Western culture allows us to think that we own land. However, owning land in ancient Israel wasn’t reality. Instead, the land would return to the family originally entrusted with it every fifty years. God considers the land to be his, and Israel is tenants upon it.
In part 3 (32:40-end), Tim finishes Leviticus 26.
“If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against me, and also in their acting with hostility against me… or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.
“Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”
Tim notes that the same logic that gives the land rest in Leviticus 26 also appears in the New Testament, when Paul writes in Romans 8.
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Creation will be liberated from its bondage when humans are liberated from theirs.
Hittite King Suppiluliuma (Wikipedia)
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