Boy, oh boy, I have read some fiery stuff on the intrawebs this morning, but this chapter beats all of it. Did you catch all God’s promises, and did you catch the reason why he is threatening the Israelites with their livelihood and every generation that follows? He spells it out in verses 34 and 35: “Then at last the land will enjoy its neglected Sabbath years …; Then the land will finally rest and enjoy the Sabbaths it missed; … it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.” God makes all these threats for a piece of land, Mother Earth, and clearly, he means serious business. For disrespecting this land, the ground He created and established, God is willing to unleash His most horrible punishments. I got chills reading verses 36 and 37: “… for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you … you will live in fear of the sound of a leaf falling … you will flee for your life even though no one is pursuing you … you will not be able to stand up for yourself, and you will die alone among people you don’t know and to whom you mean nothing.” Harsh. But this chapter summarizes how much God cherishes the lands on which we live and the importance they serve in everyone’s lives. Our lands are our futures, and God was just as concerned with how we treated them thousands of years ago as He is today. I said in the beginning of this post that I’d read some fiery stuff on social media just this morning (and definitely in the past few days), and it was aimed at humility and confession. It wasn’t just your ordinary, ho-hum, we-gotta-do-this type of posts, either. These were heartfelt, desperate pleas for change in regards to how we treat each other as humans, as well as the Earth on which we all live, together. I’m praying this morning for this humility to rise in each of us, that each of us can pull the logs out of our own eyes and look to our neighbors with love and respect and UNITY. In these chaotic days of pandemic and civil unrest in the US and other countries, I sadly start relating to what King Solomon was saying in Ecclesiastes: it’s all just a vicious cycle. I don’t know when the vicious cycle is to end, but we as a people need to show God, and particularly Jesus, that we still care enough to try.
Writing prompt: the circle of life
We just can’t seem to get it, can we? Compare the Israelites’ circumstance with your present situation. See if you can draw parallels to how God felt about the land then and how He feels about it now.