B’har (On Mount Sinai)
Jeremiah 32:6-27; 16:19-17:14
The Heart of the Matter
For our culture, many of the instructions of Leviticus seem quite foreign to us. There is even a debate whether most of these Scriptures pertain only to the time when we have entered the Land. “Buying and selling of crops, allowing the land to rest on the seventh year and redeeming our poor relative from slavery”, you have to admit, are not things most of us spend our waking thoughts pondering today. When it comes to food storage many people consider storing food for the winter. Wrap your head around storing supplies for three years to take your family through the Jubilee. Due to the difference in culture, we can get lost in the relevance of these verses for our day and read through them way to fast. A quick glance may cause us to miss the heart of the Scriptures.
Torah is about relationship with HaShem, family and the people we are called to interact with on a daily basis. The mysteries and wonders of Torah are awesome, but if we miss the theme of relationship, we miss the heart of the matter. Torah is teaching us through practical day-to-day life instructions how to love our Creator and how to treat one another. This principle is brought out again in Leviticus 25:14-17. Here Scripture speaks of selling property to a neighbor while considering the amount of how many years remaining until the Jubilee and the return of said property. On the surface we do not see the point of the instruction, because in our society when we sell an item to someone, we do not expect him or her to bring it back in seven years. All transactions are typically final. What can we learn in this instruction? The heart of the instruction is in verse 17, which tells us not to take advantage of one another in our transactions.
Let us put some flesh on this principal. Back in the days when I sold real estate, I did not like to sell property to or for friends. Sadly, more often than not, it turned out to be a disaster. I found that no matter how hard I tried, the “friend” was much harder to work with than a stranger off the street. They usually wanted special favors and in the end could not believe why I did not turn my entire commission over to them and call the transaction a favor based on friendship. This was an example of taking advantage of a friendship, which is what Leviticus warns us against.
These verses may cause us to consider these thoughtful questions for a moment. How often do I process my decisions with someone else’s interests at heart instead of my own? How many of my daily actions are based solely on what is in it for me and me only? How much time do I take to consider how my actions are affecting those around me in a positive or negative manner?
The second part of this verse may cause us to change our present way of thinking from “Only me” to “Oh me!” It tells us that the reason we are not to take advantage of one another is because of our fear of Elohim. Some may ask how this has a bearing on the issue at hand. Consider this scenario for a moment. There is a fear of Elohim that has been glossed over by modern day easy grace teachings proclaiming all is forgiven and you really need never think about the affects your actions have had on others or whether you need to make restitution for your sins. Such teachings surmise that you will one day come before your Messiah, simply point to the cross you wore around your neck, and all of life will be glossed over, erased and forgotten about. This philosophy does not take into account that though our sins are forgiven in Messiah, what we do upon this earth with that grace will one day be judged by fire. We will stand before our Creator and give an account for the life that we have led. We will give an account for the way in which we followed His commands and the way we treated each other. The standard in that day will include instructions reflected in this week’s portion. We will stand and give an account of how we took advantage of each other or receive rewards based upon how we put others first in life. This thought process should produce a bit of reverent fear regarding the way in which we live our daily lives.
Once again, Leviticus teaches us not to dwell on what we do not understand, but rather to look to the heart of the matter and focus on what we know our Elohim wants us doing! In the end, we learn life is not all about us; life is about walking humbly in loving relationship with our Creator and loving others for the glory of His Kingdom! (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Joined To HaShem
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