Mar 7, 2019
Yesterday in Leviticus, we heard about the Sabbath year and the year of Restoration/Jubilee. Before the Year of Restoration, property could be bought back//redeemed. In the Restoration year property was returned to the original owners and poor people who had become enslaved were set free. I suspect these laws were never done in all of Israel's history. If they were, perhaps only once— seventy years after Israel entered the land of Canaan. In the final two chapters of Leviticus which we read today, we hear the LORD’s prophecy that the people of Israel would fall into sin and rebellion against God. They would be warned many times and be sent into exile. In exile, God said that they would repent and God would still remember his covenant with the people of Israel. The book ends with a list of regulations.
Today we read one of the most majestic psalms, Psalm 24! This ends with the song for welcoming the triumphant Messiah into Jerusalem.
The words of the fourth and final section of Psalm 24 are sung in Handel’s Messiah, “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.”
In the first line, “Lift up your heads, you gates,” we have a poetic personification of the gates. This has been translated in the NET as “Look up, you gates.” But gates don’t have heads and they can’t look up. I like the GNT in that verse: “Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in.”
Yesterday in chapter 16 we heard two longer parables— both very insightful: The parable of the shrewd manager, and the one about the rich man and Lazarus. Both of them show this lesson:
Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they (those friends) will welcome you to an eternal home.