Behar/Bechukotai - May 8, 2021

Torah Portion:
Behar/Bechukotai - May 8, 2021

Torah: Leviticus 25:1-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Portion Summary:
—The Shmittah (Sabbath of the Land) and the Jubilee are detailed.
—The right of redemption is discussed.
—Blessings and curses are given for obedience and disobedience of the laws.
—Laws of vows, consecrations, and tithes are given.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
An Act of Faith
”Speak to B’nei Yisrael and tell them: When you come into the land which I give you, then the land is to keep a Shabbat to ADONAI. For six years you may sow your field and for six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits. But in the seventh year there is to be a Shabbat rest for the land—a Shabbat to ADONAI. You are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard.” Leviticus 25:2-4 (TLV)

This Sabbath for the Land has been viewed by some as simply good farming practices. You rotate crops, don’t you? You leave a field fallow while you work other fields. This is not the Shmittah. The seventh year you are to suspend all your farming work. That is an act of faith.

Israel has not, to my understanding, ever observed this practice. Every sixth year (even today) a bumper crop is harvested, a gift from the Lord. We have a hard time resting when we could be producing. The people in this country could attest to that.

Yeshua was asked about how many times an offense should be forgiven. Seven times? “No, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:23). This has a strong link to the Shmittah. One of the reasons the people were sent into Babylonian captivity was that they had never in 490 years observed the Sabbath for the Land. 70x7=490. God took the seventy years He was owed in consecutive succession while the people were gone.

God is very forgiving, but obviously He has a limit to which He will tolerate disobedience. Still, this commandment is a hard one for people to swallow; it feels like too big a risk. It takes faith, not for a moment, or a day, or a month, but for years. This is a constant practice for us, to keep faith with God as we see the risks that seem to surround us. Remember that He will not fail us or forget us.

Lord,
Thank You for Your forgiveness for the times that I waiver. Keeping my eyes on You will help me, but there are so many things that my eyes wander to when I consider my wants, needs, and the perceived dangers I face. Help me to continually turn to You for these things, and to maintain faith in Your ability to take care of my needs and my safety.
In Yeshua’s name, amen.


End of the book of Leviticus:

חֱזַק! חֱזַק! וְנִתְחַזֵק!
Chazak! Chazak! V’nee Chazek!

Be strong! Be strong! And be strengthened!
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