17.5 Moses 17, Day 5

Holy Heart not Holey Heart

God has tremendous blessings in store for all of His children.  Bounties of harvest so great that farmers would need to move the old crops out to make room for the new ones coming in.  They would not need to build larger store houses, because there was so much security in God’s promise they didn’t need to worry about storing up more.  God promised them peace and safety, from war, from wild animals, from enemies.  God promised might and victory.  Unprecedented might and victory, where 5 people could defeat 100.

Even more so God offered to dwell among His people.

But, that isn’t where this chapter starts.  This chapter starts with specific commands.  No idols, no graven images, observe the sabbaths, have reverence for the sanctuary.  How do these things go together?

This isn’t quite equivalent, but try this as an explanation:  You have been invited to the top artisan ice cream shop in the world.  You are given free access to every flavor, every topping ever accompaniment you can imagine.  But it is BYOB – Bring Your Own Bowl.  How would you feel if you showed up and your bowl was dirty, broken, cracked, with holes.

In this case, though, the bowl is your heart.

God wants you to enjoy the bounty He has in mind.  God has carefully prepared for you the things your heart craves.  He really doesn’t want you to show up with a bowl that is broken and full of holes.  If you don’t get the message from the promise of the blessing, then He will provide other forms of discipline.  If the carrot doesn’t work, then maybe the whip will.  God does not want to punish you, no more than a loving parent wants to punish a child, but if that is what it takes to get you to show up with a clean and ready bowl – that is up to you.

Leviticus 26:40-45 confirms this.  Repent.  Get your heart back in line, and God freely hands you the golden ticket to His ice cream shop.

What is the state of your bowl (your heart)?  Have you asked God to “create in me a clean heart”?  Have you asked God to help mend your broken heart?  Have you repented and showed the chips and holes to the one who can fix them. ?  Do you have a Holy Heart, or are you showing up with a Heart full of Holes?


My Answers:

1. do not make idols or bow down to carved stone, 2.observe the sabbaths and have reverence for sanctuary

3-5: send rain in its season, ground will yield crops, trees fruit,… you’ll eat all the food you want and live in safety
6-8 peace and safety, remove wild animals, no wars at home, defeat military enemies (5 chase 100) 11-13 God dwell with them, safety and freedom – He would be their king

14-17: Illness, famine and defeat
18-20: Drought and bad harvest
21-22: Multiplied afflictions and destructive wild animals
23-26: Diseases and destruction by enemies

If repent and approach with a humble heart, God will remember His covenant

That the holy of holies is open, Jesus is my high priest and He is redeeming me daily, despite my sin

2. a person (child or otherwise), 9. an animal, 14.a house, 16. family land, 22. purchased land/fields


17.4 Moses 17, Day 4

Being poor is a situation not a station

The first time the word poor shows up in the NIV version of the bible is in Exodus 23.  This is the chapter where Moses is giving instruction to the Hebrews that he received from God, and the chapter where he says, in verse 11, “but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it.”  In other words, the same dialogue we are studying today in Leviticus.

Even in the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey, there would be poor people.  These people would likely be believers in God.  Some of them were clearly from the ranks of Hebrews.  There was no indication that they were poor because these people were being punished, nor that they were inferior.  They were just poor.

As we read these chapter of Leviticus, it is easy to fall into a “prosperity gospel” mindset.  God, the creator of everything, has unimaginable abundance and a love to pour that out upon His people in grace and great bounty.  And, all of that is actually true. But, there will still be people who are economically poor.

However, the other thing we see from this is that being poor, at least as used here, is not a station, it is not a position in society or a caste, it is just a situation.  During someone’s life, there may be times when they are economically wealthy and other times where they are economically poor.  Again, they have not “earned” either situation and both situations can bring us closer to God.  We can be on the right path of faith and still experience highs and lows, both spiritually and economically.  God can use these times to teach us and help us grow.

On one hand, this is refreshing and encouraging.  On the other, it can really challenge us, too.  For example: understanding poverty in this way draws us to approach helping the poor in a different way.  We are called to give and help the poor in what they need rather than in what we have in abundance.  Stop and read that last sentence again.

This is not “drive-by charity”.  This is a lot more challenging, it means interacting with and getting to know people who are experiencing a time of poverty.  This means not only giving stuff, but giving of ourselves so that we can give the message of a relationship with God.  It is a lot, lot, lot messier.  It is a whole lot easier to just load up a basket of food or clothes and drop them off at some collection center.  We can still do those things, they are good, just not sufficient.  Mostly because they provide a hand-out, but not a hand-up.  If these are the only approaches to charity and the poor that we take, then we need to ask “are we giving to help others or because it makes us feel better about ourselves?”

The fact is, drive-by charity is not how God approaches me or you.  God listens.  God knows us.  God shows compassion.  God gives us what we need.  Sometimes what we need and what He provides is an easy road.  Sometimes, however, it means being bent over picking up the left-overs of the field.  Both are compassionate, because, in both situations, God knows us well enough to know this is where we need to be to have the opportunity to become spiritually rich.  God is compassionate enough to allow us to be economically poor at times if it will help us to become eternally spiritually wealthy.  He is also compassionate enough to allow us to be economically wealthy to test our commitment to our faith walk.  “it is far easier for…”

When you are thinking this week about how God’s treatment of you can influence your treatment of others, think first about God’s patience and how many times He has heard you repent the same thing and how many times He has held your hand and been with you even when you were not paying attention to the fact that He was there.  Food, money, shelter, clothing, are all things we should give, but the greater gift we can give is the present of actually being present.  Through this relationship, others can see a true relationship with God.  Even in these chapters in Leviticus, God isn’t just discussing providing for the people, He is talking about dwelling among them.


My Answers:

Do not treat outsiders better than your own, help them, provide for them without interest, Do not withold food for profit.

38. I am the Lord, 42 the Israelites are my servants…, fear your God 55. they belong to God as servants, He brought them out of Egypt.  “I am the LORD your God.”

Today – safety, shelter, food, fellowship, a ministry, love, family, care for family, provision, a church, the bible, a relationship with Him

My help to others should reflect God’s love.  I belong to Him.  They belong to Him.

17.3 Moses 17, Day 3


If you have spent time around toddlers, then you have seen mankind at its most natural state.  They can be loving and caring and adorable, but they can also be, well, let’s say – challenging.  No parent teaches their child to go and snatch something from an innocent sibling or playmate and scream the word, “mine”, to them.

But that is what toddlers do.  That is what you and I did.  It is what children did decades and millennia ago.  It is who we are.

But it isn’t mine.  No matter how you play the game of life, as John Ortberg wrote, “when the game is over, it all goes back in the box.”

We live every day with this concept of scarcity.  There is only so much of (insert item here) so I need to get mine.  If things keep going like they are going, we are going to run out.  For me to have more means someone will have less and I would rather be on the more side than the less side of that equation.

But that is a lie.  Historically, it doesn’t even prove out.  Each time we form decision on a scarcity mindset, something changes and our strategies no longer work.  A famous example of this was the London Crisis of 1894.  At that time there were enough people living in the city of London that a lot of transportation was required.  The transportation of that day was horse, either individually or in carriages, wagons, etc.  The problem wasn’t the horses themselves, per se, but what need to go into the horses and what came out of them.  There was tremendous concern over enough land to grow feed as the city swelled into the countryside and whether that land could sustain both human and horse needs.  There was concern over the growing piles of horse manure in the streets and the impact and costs it imposed.  But, as we know, this entire problem simply went away with the advent of the motor-car.

The God who created everything out of nothing does not have a scarcity mindset and, if our focus is on the right things, we won’t either.  If you start thinking about scarcity instead of abundance, remind yourself about love.  Remind yourself about freedom, liberty, happiness, peace, joy, goodwill, praise, faith, hope, beauty, grace.  Remind yourself about God.

Should I be focused on these things?  Can society or a nation?  It might be worth doing a search and seeing what is engraved on the Liberty Bell.  It might ring true for today’s scriptures.

My Answers:

7×7=49, +1= 50th is another sabbath year.  proclaim liberty throughout the land.  All purchased farm land returned, all go home

Freedom – freedom from slavery.  Honoring of a covenant.  The gifts of inheritance belong to the family of the King

to identify fairness in pricing of the selling of land since it would be returned in the Jubilee year – basically you are buying the output of the land, not the land itself

Follow my decrees and obey my laws – safety, crop yield, blessings of abundance

A sabbath year of rest for the land, yes – it has benefits for the land.  A period of forgiveness of debts and return of property would not work as well because it would inhibit development, also our land was not a covenant land

to be the kinsman redeemer.  Abraham rescued Lot.  Boaz with Naomi and Ruth

We have incurred debts we cannot pay and have become impoverished to sin.  Jesus came as our kinsman and redeemed us by paying our sin and bringing us into His household as His family.

17.2 Moses 17, Day 2

Heart Space: Storing Up or Overflowing?

Let’s think about our heart as a storage area in our house.  It may be your basement, attic, garage, spare bedroom, what ever works for you.  Each day, all year long, year after year, we accumulate things.  We accumulate debts, not just the monetary debts, but other obligations and guilts.  We accumulate work and tasks, long to-do lists that never get done.  We accumulate all kinds of stuff, as well as the excess luggage to lug our stuff around.

What if every so often, let’s say every 7 years, you stopped accumulating and cleared things out instead?  What if you got out of debt?  What if you forgave yourself of the guilt and burdens you carried around?  What if you gave yourself permission to re-evaluate, re-assess and, basically, clean house?

What would God be able to put in all that space in your heart that all of a sudden was free?  What if you retreated and asked and allowed God to take the lead in your life and in your heart?

In our modern culture to retreat is synonymous with failure.  We must drive forward.  We can’t pull back.  There is so much to do.  But that isn’t what the bible says.

Retreating doesn’t mean forfeiting, it means pulling back into a better position of strength.  In our day to day service to God, even with the best intentions to do good kingdom work, we can get ourselves out in front of where God wants us to be.

We look at the poor and we look at the land or resources we have and think, we’ve got to keep planting.  We think, it is up to us to feed the poor, to provide for others, they need me, God needs me.  But what they really need is God and we need to trust in His provision for ourselves and for others.  It is in the years of retreat, the years of peace, the years of rest, that God’s abundance shines.  The poor didn’t go away during the Sabbath year in the promised land, but they also did not go hungry.  Not only did they receive physical food, but they also witnessed the power of the Lord, not other men.

Who could you bless by allowing them to see your life at peace and rest and trust in God rather than a life scared by the same striving and busyness that looks just like everyone else?  Maybe it is time to go on a retreat, to clean out your heart and your life and ask and allow God to fill it with peace and rest and joy that overflows as a tremendous bounty.

My Answers:

When they entered the promised land

sow and prune for 6 years and harvest, but in 7th year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, do not harvest, do not tend, but all can eat directly from the fields

At this time they were being provided for daily (manna), so it was not unreasonable that God could provide.  They were probably also looking forward to owning their own land and amazed at the bounty it would provide

It is a year of freedom – freedom from debt, from servitude.  Leading up to it should be years of generosity.  There will be no poor because the Lord will provide abundance.  Abundance not scarcity.

Trusting in God’s abundance, not worrying about scarcity.  The ability to start over – clean slate.  All debts are forgiven, just as God forgives our debts

Opening house to be a place of joy and gathering for family, friends, visitors to church, missionaries