Now as we get into chapter twenty-five, they were to give the land a Sabbath day’s rest or Sabbath year. They were to plant the land for six years, the seventh year they were to let the land rest. Really, I like these laws of God. Man, you’ve got a lot of seven-day holidays spread through the year. Then every seventh year, you just kick back and take the year off. You don’t even plant anything in that year; you just let grow up whatever grows up and you eat that. But God said, “If you will do this in the sixth year I will cause your crops to be so bountiful that I’ll give you a three year’s crop in the sixth year so that it’ll carry you through, clear, and over until you are harvesting from the eighth year. If you’ll just follow this,” God said, “I’ll let you have the whole year off. You just eat what grows up wild. But in the sixth year you’ll have a triple crop that’ll carry you clear on over to the harvesting of the eighth year.”
Now I would venture to declare to you that some, what do they call them, agronomists, or agrologists or something, one of these guys in the field of agronomy. Agronomist? Thank you. Some day an agronomist is going to come up with a fascinating discovery; that if you just let the ground lie in the seventh year that it has a tremendous regenerative effect upon the land. That has a way of coming out in the sixth year, that you just have a bumper crop. I’m sure that it is a natural law that God has established; that if people would follow it, they would find tremendous success. They could actually have a year’s vacation every seven years.
Now this is the law that God, we were talking about spiritual laws, and when we get to it, God said, “Now if you’ll just walk in it, this is what I’m going to do. You’ll have plenty. Your vintage will last till the vintage season.” I’m sure that they’ll discover that the ground will produce much better in the six years, and that your overall crops, and just growing for six years, and letting the thing lie in the seventh year, your overall crop would actually be greater than growing it all seven years. I’m certain that it is true. But you see people say; “I don’t understand how that could work.” And you get a bunch of egghead scientists that say, “Oh, there’s no way that could work,” and they put it down. But I’m sure it would. It’s there. It’s a part of the laws that God has established. Farmers could have it so easy, or so much easier. I don’t suppose a farmer ever has it easy. I don’t think it’s easy getting up that early in the morning, but they could have it so much easier the seventh year. Just enjoy, you know.
Now when the people came into the land they didn’t follow this. They were a bunch of smarties just like you are. So they figured, “Oh well, we’ll really make it next year. Look at the bumper crop we had this year. Ah, let’s plant it this next year. We’ll really go for it.” They were constantly struggling with a land plagued with drought, over producing the land so that it was weakening the soil processes. Just weakening the soil, its fertility. They disobeyed the laws of God.
So after four hundred and ninety years of being in the land, God said, “All right, that’s it. Every seventh year the land was to have a rest. You haven’t given it any rest since you’ve come in. This poor land had been worked for four hundred and ninety years. It never did get its Sabbaths. So I’m going to set you over in Babylon for seventy years so that the land can get its Sabbaths. And the land is going to get its rest. It’s going to rest for seventy years because you didn’t give it its Sabbaths.” Because in the four hundred and ninety years, there would have been seventy of these Sabbath year rests. So God gave it the rest anyhow.
But the people look at the benefit they missed of a vacation, a year vacation every seven years. You know, I like the programs of God. I don’t see anything wrong with this at all. I think it’s pretty, I think God’s pretty generous really with man.
Seventh year shall be a sabbath rest: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune your vineyard. [“Just stay out of it; just rest.”] That which grows of its own accord of your harvest thou shalt not reap (25:4-5),
Just leave it there for the poor people, for the servants, let them come in and let them have it. Whatever grows on your grapevines or your fruit trees, just let it be for the people to come in and take it in the seventh year, because God will give you enough, a triple crop in the sixth year.
Then there was to be a—they would count seven Sabbath years, and then the next year, the fiftieth year was a special one. So you got every fifty years, you got two years’ vacation. This was the Year of Jubilee, a year of real celebration. All debts were canceled, all mortgages were canceled, all the slaves were set free, a Year of Jubilee every fifty years. That was equivalent to the Pentecost. You count seven Sabbaths and the next day, the fiftieth day was the Pentecost. So they did it with years. You count seven of the Sabbath year cycles, and then the next year, the fiftieth year, a special Year of Jubilee.
We are close to a Jubilee year right now. Whether or not it’s this year or next year, or eighty-one, it’s right in here close. And there are varied opinions as to when the Jubilee Year actually is taking place. Some have marked it, a few have marked it seventy-nine, some have marked it eighty-one, and many have marked it eighty. Who am I to mark a year? But it’d be nice, take a year off. You know, after all if next year’s going to be the Jubilee Year, this means this is the rest year anyhow. So go for it. But the year Jubilee.
He now deals with the laws in regards to the Year of Jubilee, beginning with verse eight.
Cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month (25:9),
That was a day that we’ve already studied. What was the tenth day of the seventh month? Yom Kippur; good.
And then ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land of the inhabitants thereof: [The Year of Jubilee.] Return every man unto his possession, and return every man unto his family. A jubilee in that fiftieth year be unto you: and ye shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather the grapes in it undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: and ye shall eat of the increase thereof out of the field. And in the year of the jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. And if you sell off to your neighbour, you buy something from your neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, according to the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee (25:10-15):
In other words, you never really bought the land; you leased the land and the lease would go until the Year of Jubilee. So you always figured the price by the number of years until the Year of Jubilee. In other words, if the Year of Jubilee was forty years away, you’d have to pay a pretty good piece of cash for the land. But if the Year of Jubilee was maybe just three years away, then you always measured the price by the distance of the Year of Jubilee because in the Year of Jubilee the land always returned unto the original ownership.
The same was true of the servants; they were to go free. The slaves were to go free in that Year of Jubilee.
The land shall not be sold forever: [verse twenty-three] for the land is mine; [In other words, God says, “The land is mine, you’re not to sell it for ever.”] for you are strangers and sojourners with me (25:23).
In other words, “You’re my guests”, God is saying, “this land is Mine; you’re My guests.” It’s always an interesting thing to me when I go over to the land; I love it because I think, “Wow Lord, this is Your land, and I’m just journeying with You. I’m a sojourner with You. Your land, so I’m just sojourning through Your land here.” I love to sojourn through the Lord’s land of Israel. It’s a fascinating experience.
Now if your brother is poor, and he sold away some of his possessions, and then his next of kin can redeem it, and shall redeem what his brother has sold [so that it stays with the family] (25:25).
The various laws of redemption are given to us here in the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus. These are important laws, for they pertain to us, for we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. This idea of being set free in the seventh year, or in the Jubilee Year. If you purchased a slave who was a Jew, he would serve you for six years; the seventh year he was to be set free.
Now there is that interesting pattern of the six years of servitude, the seventh year being the year of liberty being set free. I see it really in the earth. I believe that Adam sold out the possession that God had given to him just about six thousand years ago. How close to the six thousand years, nobody really knows, awfully close now though, because we do know that Adam sold out to Satan. If you take the figures out of the Bible and add them all up, the ages of each person and all, you come to about 4000 B.C. that Adam sinned against God and gave the earth over to Satan.
Now we are in 1979, coming towards the close of it. So you’ve got a few years divergency here that could be eaten up in several different ways. We are approaching, certainly approaching, and at least at the longest, we are less than twenty years from six thousand years of slavery to sin to Satan, his possession of this earth.
Now we know that there is a thousand-year period coming of restoration, of a righteous reign of Jesus Christ of peace and glory upon the earth. The fact that the six thousand years are almost over is extremely exciting to me, because I am personally convinced that the seventh millennium of the earth will be the glorious Kingdom Age, and we can’t be more than twenty years away. Now I’m excited about that. And to me there’s nothing of doom and gloom but glory to God, the mess is over. Oh, I’m so excited. What an exciting time to be living. The close of this age, the close of this millennium, the close of this final millennium prior to that glorious seventh millennium, the millennial reign of Christ. He shall rule and reign for a thousand years upon the earth. He’s going to rule and reign forever, a thousand of it will be here upon the earth, and we shall rule and reign with Him as kings and priests. Can you imagine that? How close we are, whoosh it’s exciting. I love it.
So this whole law of redemption through chapter twenty-five, the redemption of the poor brother by the kinsman redeemer. What a picture of Christ. The man is unable to redeem himself; his next of kin can move in and redeem it for him.
Now man could not redeem the world himself, so Christ became a man so He could be next of kin to man, so that He could redeem the earth back unto God. Necessary that He become a man, that He become our brother, that He might become our kinsman Redeemer. That which man could not do, Jesus Christ has done. In Revelation, chapter five, when we get into heaven and we’re beholding that glorious scene, and we see the angel with the scroll, the title deed of the earth with seven seals writing within and without, standing there proclaiming, “Who is worthy to take this scroll and to loose the seals?”(Revelation 5:2).
Here is this whole thing of redemption. Adam forfeited the world over to Satan. It’s his possession. He said to Jesus, “It’s mine, I can give it to whomever I will.” Who is able to redeem now the earth? John began to sob convulsively because no man was found worthy to take the scroll and to loose the seals. That’s right, no man can do it.
And as John was weeping the others said, “Weep not John, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals, and I beheld Him as a lamb that had been slaughtered. And He came, and He took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat upon the throne. And as He did, the elders and the cherubim came forth with the golden vials full of odours, which were the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song saying, Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll and loose the seals, for He was slain and hath redeemed us by His blood out of all the nations and tribes, tongues, and people, and has made us unto our God a kingdom of priests, and we shall reign with Him on the earth”(Revelation 5:5-10). Oh how I long for that day when I’m standing there at the throne of God, singing that glorious song of the redeemed and the worthiness of Jesus Christ.
So this law was put in here for your benefit that you might understand just exactly why Jesus became a man, why it was necessary that He become a man in order that He might be a kinsman redeemer. So there in chapter twenty-five, you’ll find it fascinating in that regards. You might want to look at it more carefully.
Chapter twenty-six again God establishes the fact that they are to worship Him.
They are not to have idols, or graven images, or standing images, set up any image in the land to bow down to it: for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. [Now God says,] If you will walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them (26:1-3);
Walk, keep, do. Some of the commandments of God involve our walk, some of them command our actions, and some of them are just sort of negatives, the things that we are to keep and to keep from. So God is now laying out, “If you will now do this, if you will obey, if you’ll walk, if you’ll keep, this is what I’m going to do.” God lays out the conditions of blessings. “I want to bless you. These are the rules and laws that I have given, the laws of prosperity, and if you will keep them, this is what’s going to happen to you.”
I will give you rain in due season, the land shall yield her increase, the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall reach to the vintage, the vintage shall reach to the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. [“So I’m going to just bless you and prosper you in the land, you’re going to have plenty of food, plenty of crops, the seed will last clear over till the sowing time, and you’ll eat bread till you’re full, not only that”,] I will give peace in the land, an ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: [Not only that] I will rid the evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. [So, “I will give you peace in the land, lying down, not being afraid, the sword not passing through the land.”] And ye shall chase your enemies, [I’ll give you power,] and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight (26:4-8):
Remember the story of Gideon? Three hundred fellows surrounded the Midianites, a hundred and thirty-two thousand of them? “And your enemies shall fall before you by the sword”.
For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. [That verse refers to your children, you’re going to have beautiful families, grandchildren. You’ll be fruitful and multiply, and again the promise of plenty.] Ye shall eat the old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. [In other words, your crops will last over and you’ll still be eating from last year’s crops when you’ve already harvested this year’s.] And I will set my tabernacle among you: [So God’s presence is promised.] my soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people (26:9-12).
What a beautiful national privilege is offered now to these people. The blessings of God abundantly, peace in the land, power for the people. The posterity being blessed, and beyond all this, God’s presence dwelling there in the midst of the people, God walking with him, and dwelling with him. What more could any people desire or want? The only condition is that, “Now that you have My statutes, walk in them. Now that you have My commandments, just keep them, and you’ll have all of this.”
Now these things that God is promising, the prosperity, the peace, the power, these are the things for which men are seeking today. But Jesus pointed out the folly of seeking these things. He said, “After all of these things do the heathen seek. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you”(Matthew 6:33). That’s what God is saying here. “If you will just follow Me, if you’ll just obey Me, if you’ll just look to Me, then I’ll do this for you.”
But you see we’ve got things so reversed in our minds, and in our concepts, that we are so busy seeking these things, we don’t have time to seek God. “Well Lord, I’d really like to seek You, but I don’t know how I’m going to pay for this new television unless I take this Sunday job.” You know all of these things I’m seeking after that take me away from time with God, whereas if I would just give God the first of my heart, the firstfruits of my life, and just worship Him, and follow Him, and obey him, He would do all these things for me. You say, “Well how?” I don’t know anymore than I don’t know how gravitation works. I know it works, I don’t know how. I know that electricity works, I don’t know how. “Oh, but I don’t want to put my trust in anything that I don’t understand.” How many of you ladies are you going to drive home tonight? Do you understand the internal combustion engine? “Well, that’s different.” It always is; isn’t it?
Now God said,
I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of Egypt, [Why did I bring you out? I brought you out and this is why,”] that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and I have made you stand up straight (26:13).
Boy, under the bondage. I mean, these guys were bent over with loads that you can’t believe. You know after years of carrying these heavy loads you get to where you just walk humped over because they would carry hundreds of pounds upon their backs. You just get to where you just walk stooped over. But God said, “Look I set you free from that so you can stand up straight, because I’m your Lord, and I brought you out that you would no longer be their bondmen, you would no longer be their servants. I want you now to be My servants. As servants of God you can stand up straight.” Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you. My yoke is easy, My burden is light”(Matthew 11:29-30). There are people who would try to make you think that the burden of the Lord is a heavy onerous thing to bear.
During the days of Jeremiah these prophets or so-called prophets were going around saying, “Oh the burden of the Lord, the burden of the Lord.” Like it was some heavy thing. So God said to Jeremiah, He said, “Jeremiah there’s a phrase I’ve heard so often I’m so sick of it, I never want to hear it again. Jeremiah if you use this phrase I’m going to refuse to talk to you from now on. It’s that rotten phrase, ‘The burden of the Lord’. I’m sick of it. Don’t use it; just delete that from your vocabularies. These guys all going around saying, ‘The burden of the Lord, the burden of the Lord’. Jesus said, “My burden is easy, My burden is light.”
“Oh brother, I’m praying that I’ll just be able to hold on under this heavy load that God’s laid on me.” Who laid it on you? Hey, if your load is so heavy you can’t carry it; I have to assume that you’ve taken on yourself something that God never put on you, brother. If you find it so hard that you can hardly make it, then that isn’t the Lord’s yoke. His yoke is easy. If it’s so heavy you’re really struggling under it, that isn’t His burden. His burden is light. But we often take upon ourselves things that God really wasn’t putting on us. Why do we take them on? Oh, because I would like the glory of man. So when they’re taking pledges, “Oh I’ll be glad to, brother. Everybody see me? I’ll be glad to.” So before men I make commitments. That’s sad because then it gets so heavy. “Oh serving of the Lord is such a heavy burden.” No, no. Serving my flesh is a heavy burden, but serving the Lord is glorious. His yoke is easy His burden is light.
Now if you find yourself straining on the burden, then dump it. It’s not His anyhow. Find the Lord’s burden. Serving the Lord’s exciting, glorious, pleasurable thing. “I delight to do Thy will O God” (Psalm 40:8). That is the way it should always be.
Now the Lord said in verse fourteen,
But if you will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if you shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhors my judgments, so that you will not do all of my commandments, but break my covenant: Then this is what I’m going to do for you (26:14-16);
So the conditions, “Keep the commandments, I’m going to bless you. Break the commandments, I’m going to break you.”
for I will appoint over you terror, consumption, the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: you will sow your seed in vain, your enemies shall eat it (26:16).
You remember when Samuel, or when Gideon was threshing the wheat? He was doing it in a cave to hide it from the Midianites because the Midianites would stand back and let these guys harvest their fields, bring it all in, thresh it, and then the Midianites would move in and take it away from them. That wasn’t so dumb, I guess, as far as the Midianites were concerned, but it’s awfully hard when you’re doing the work.
I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: and they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none is pursuing you. And if for all of this you will not hearken, [if you’re still stubborn, resistant, you won’t listen,] then I’ll punish you seven times more for your sins. I’ll break the pride of your power; [Now He promised them earlier that He’d give them power; now He’s going to break the pride of their power.] and I will make your heaven as iron, your earth as brass: [He was going to cause the land to bring forth abundantly, but now He’s going to make the earth as hard as brass.] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land will not yield her increase, and neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if you continue to walk contrary to me after this, and you will not hearken unto me, then I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. And I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; And if you’re still not reformed by me in these things, and you still are walking contrary to me; then I will also walk contrary to you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. I’ll bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when you are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. [“You’re going to experience actually constant hunger.”] And if for all of this you will still not hearken, but walk contrary; Then I will walk contrary to you also in fury; and I will chastise you seven times for your sins. Ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and daughters. And I will destroy your high places, cut down your images, cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I’ll not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [“I’ll not accept your sacrifices anymore.”] And I will bring the land into desolation: by your enemies. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste (26:17-33).
Now what is the story of the Bible in the Old Testament as we read the historic part? The story is just the fulfillment of what God said. As long as they sought the Lord, God prospered them and God blessed them, and they were strong and they dwelt in peace and they had plenty. But when they forsook the Lord, then God forsook them. All of these things that God said would happen, did happen to them, even their eating their own children during a time of the siege of Samaria by Benhadad. All of these things took place until finally, as God said, they were dispersed into all the nations of the world. So that God literally fulfilled those things that He said He would do to them. He did. Their land lay desolate for centuries, the cities desolate for centuries.
Now it is interesting to go through the land of Israel also because you’ll see interesting looking mountains, which aren’t really mountains, they’re hills, which aren’t really hills. They are tells, and they are the ruins of the city, and its hundreds of tells all over the land. Sometime when I take one of these seven years off, I’d like to get a shovel and just go digging in some of those tells. Because of all the cities that have been just ruined, and they’re just lying there, and they’re covered now with dirt and just totally desolate just like God said.
And then shall the land rest and enjoy her sabbaths, [It surely has done that.] and as long as it lies desolate it will rest; because you did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the land of your enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf will chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from the sword; and they shall fall when none is pursuing. [It’ll give them a fear in their hearts. Wherever they go they’ll be fearful people because of the persecutions that will arise.] And they shall fall one upon another. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away, [And so forth, but then God declares,] If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass they have trespassed against me, that also they have walked contrary to me; And that I also have walked contrary to them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and then they accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham and I will remember; and I will remember the land. And the land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, and lie desolate: But then yet for all of that [verse forty-four] when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away from their enemies, neither will I abhor them, nor destroy them utterly to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God (26:34-44).
In other words, “I will preserve them as an ethnic group,” which God has done. He kept His promise. He kept His word. No other nation; no other nation has had that same fate. Every other nation who has been without a homeland has disappeared as an ethnic group. Not the Jew; he has remained a Jew to the present day. God kept His word.
Now these are the statutes and the judgments and the laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses (26:46).
So God gave them the laws, and then He gave them the conditions. “If you keep them, I’m going to bless you; break them, and these are the things that are going to happen.” So the things that happen are just things that God said would happen. And you can’t really blame God, because they did happen because God said they would. If you would’ve only listened to God; you would’ve known it.
Now the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, say unto them, When a man makes a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation (27:1-2).
Now if you make a vow unto God and say, “God, I’m going to give You my life,” wonderful. “Now I want to take my life back. Lord, I’ve decided not to give You my life.” Well hey, He won’t play Indian giver with you. You want to take yourself back now? You don’t want to give your life to God? Okay, drop fifty shekels of silver into the pot. You had to buy yourself back from the Lord. You made a vow; you made a commitment. “God, I’m giving my life to You, now I’m going to take my life back.” Okay, you can buy your life back from God for fifty shekels, or six? What is it? Fifty, sixty shekels of silver. Fifty shekels of silver. That’s if you’re a man. If you’re a girl, you get better off; you only get valued at thirty shekels of silver.
Now the main idea is be careful what you promise God. You know the Bible says, “When you come into the presence of God don’t be swift to speak. You know, really weigh your words. The Psalmist prayed, “Lord don’t let me sin with my lips.” I think of how many times we actually sin with our lips when we’re making promises and vows to God.
Now the Bible says, “It’s better not to make a vow at all”(Ecclesiastes 5:5). God doesn’t require you to make vows. So it’s better that you don’t make any vow at all, then to make a vow to God and break it, because God takes you serious.
Now what if we tried to treat each other in our transactions like we treat God? “Oh friend, I’d like to give you my car. Here let me sign over the pink slip.” “Oh praise the Lord that’s wonderful. I need a car.” Then I come back the next day and say, “I’ve decided I don’t want to give you the car; I want it back.” “Oh man, I’ve already put new tires on it.” “Well, I want it back, my car you know.” We do that with God so often. “God I want to give You this. Lord, I want it back.” The Lord takes it serious. He doesn’t play those kinds of games with you. “All right if you want it back, put in the kitty what it’s worth.”
That’s what the whole chapter is about. Anything that you vowed to God, anything that you promised to God, if you wanted to take it back, then God charged you. You’d have to come and give the estimate for it, and you’d have to pay the estimated value of that thing. You just don’t get it back from God. He doesn’t just give back to you. You have to buy back what you’ve given to God if you want it for yourself.
So it starts out with people promising their lives. “Oh God, my life is Yours. I give my life to You.” “Fine, I’ll take it.” “Oh God, I want my life back.” “All right fifty shekels.” “Oh God, I give You my lamb Lord; it’s Your little lamb.” “Fine, I’ll take it.” “Oh Lord, it’s growing up to look so nice, and all, I could probably—” “Okay, buy it back from Me.” See but then if you bought the lamb back, not only did you have to pay the estimated price, but you had to add twenty percent. God wanted interest on His money. It’s not so easy. The bank hasn’t really gotten quite as heavy as God, as far as interest rates. God always said, “Add a fifth part thereto.”
So here in the twenty-seventh chapter are the things that have been dedicated to God. God accepted them. They belonged to God. God considered ownership of them. Now, if you’re trying to renege, take it back, God will allow you to do it, but you’d have to pay for it. Then in a matter of things, you had to add a twenty percent surtax on it unto the Lord. The various ages by which things were valued, and the thing is you couldn’t make any switcheroos on God. You couldn’t give Him a lamb and it grows up to be real nice, and then you had one that was sort of sick, you switch it, you know, and do a switcheroo on God and give Him this poor one. He wouldn’t go for that either. So you try to switcheroo, they both belong to God. It’s so no switcheroos on Him. He wouldn’t go for that kind of a bit. You try that kind of stuff you get in trouble, because then He’ll take them both.
So He goes on and lays out this whole thing of things dedicated to God, and if you wanted them back, the ways by which you got them back. Now as far as the firstborn of anything, that just automatically belonged to God. God laid claim to the firstborn of everything. The firstborn lamb, the firstborn calf, the firstborn of any of the animals, they all belonged to God. You wanted to keep them, you could buy them from God. But God just automatically laid claim to the firstborn of everything. Even your firstborn son you had to buy from God. He was firstborn, God claimed all the firstborn so “the firstborn is Mine, so you want him, you can buy him.” So God is a shrewd businessman and He deals in a very straightforward way.
So the firstling of the beast which should be the Lord’s firstling, no man shall sanctify it. You don’t have to dedicate it, it’s already God’s whether it’s an ox, a sheep, it’s the Lord’s.
And if it be of an unclean animal (27:11)
If it’s a horse, or an animal that was considered unclean, you couldn’t offer it to God, then you had to buy it from the Lord, because it’s still the firstborn, still belongs to God. So you have a firstborn horse, you have to buy that from Him. He didn’t want the horse, so He’d just take the money instead.
And ye shall redeem it according to the estimated price, and then add a fifth part thereto. (27:13),
If it is not to be redeemed, if you don’t redeem it, then you’ve got to sell it for the estimated price.
Notwithstanding [verse twenty-eight] no devoted thing, that a man shall devote to the Lord of all that he has, both of man and beast, of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. [Once you devote it to the Lord, it belongs to the Lord.] None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; [If you try to do it] you’ll be put to death. Now all the tithe of the land, whether the seed, or the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord (27:28-30).
So God just laid claim. He just came and laid claim to a tenth of everything, of the firstfruits, the first tenth belongs to God. Whatever’s left is yours. There wasn’t any, there wasn’t any quibbling about it; it’s just first tenth belongs to God.
Now if you would hold back that tenth, if you would at all redeem that tenth that belongs to God, He just considers it belongs to Him. If you’re going to hold back at all, then you’ve got to add twenty percent. Some people borrow from their tithes, man, that’s rough interest. Twenty percent if you borrow on your tithes. Because God said, “That’s Mine, keep your hands off of it; it belongs to Me.” If you take from it, then add a fifth part thereto; twenty percent.
And if a man [verse thirty-one] will redeem all of his tithes, he shall add thereto a fifth part. [Twenty percent] And concerning the tithes of the herd, or the flock, even whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord (27:28-30).
Now you’re not to, you see, when you, when you bring your flock in, every tenth one belonged to God. You know the little firstling lamb that comes through, every tenth one, the Lord’s, separated. You’re not to look and see the tenth one coming through, and you watch, “Oh man”, and move the line. God doesn’t want any fudging’.
And so as you’re passing them through the rod the tenth shall be the Lord’s. And you shall not search whether it is good or bad, neither shall you change it: because if you change it, then both the one that was supposed to be the Lord’s, and the one you changed it for, both belong to God; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai (27:32-34).
So man, God you know is asking quite a bit. Yeah, but look what He’s giving you, three seventh-day vacations during the year, and every seventh year off. Plus plenty, plus His presence. I’d say that you’re getting a pretty good deal. Now if you do your part, God does His part. “If you will obey, this is what I’ll do.”
As we come into the New Testament and we read Scriptures such as, “Christ is the end of the law to those that believe”(Romans 10:4), “for the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”(John 1:17), “for we are not under law, but under grace”(Romans 6:14). It does mean that we do now have a new relationship with God which is not predicated upon doing and living.
Thus, if you’ll read the book of Hebrews again, you’ll find it extremely interesting to you from the Christian perspective. Because in Hebrews it points out that this old covenant was predicated upon man’s obedience. For the Scripture saith, “And he that shall do them shall live by them”(Romans 10:5).
So the old covenant was predicated upon your obedience; your doing it. But man failed. The nation Israel is a testimony of man’s failure. God, in keeping His word, dispersed them out of the land, scattered them into all of the world, made their land desolate, yet maintained their national identity, and is now fulfilling that promise that He gave where He would again deal with them and bring them back into the land. But in the meantime, God has established a new covenant with man that is no longer based upon the old covenant, “and he that doeth them shall live by them”.
But the new covenant is now established through the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The new covenant doesn’t emphasize what man does, but what God has done. Because the old covenant failed, not because it wasn’t good, not because it wasn’t righteous. It was a righteous covenant. Never look upon the law disparagingly, “Oh, that’s the law.” Hey wait a minute. The law is holy, just and good. It’s the law of God. “I consent to the law that it is right.” I read these things and I say, “Yes, that’s right.” My heart consents to the law, but my flesh rebels. My flesh doesn’t want to come under the yoke of the law. Thus, rather than being forever alienated from God, and from the love and the life of God, God has now established a new covenant with man. In the new covenant, God now accepts me on the basis not of what I am doing, but what on the basis of what He has done in sending His only Son to be a sacrifice for me, and to bear my sins, so that God can bring me into fellowship with Himself.
Now the old covenant failed because of man’s weakness. The new covenant cannot fail, because God cannot fail. The old covenant predicated upon man couldn’t make it. The new covenant predicated now upon God’s faithfulness. Man’s faithfulness didn’t make it; God’s faithfulness, hey it’s going to make it. It can’t fail because God is faithful. God is going to do what He said He is going to do for you who will just simply now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, or on the lordship of Jesus Christ. You who will just submit your lives to Jesus Christ, you enter into a new covenant relationship with God through faith of Jesus Christ.
As you get into Hebrews, you’ll read all about it: the better covenant established through better promises, and better sacrifices, and better priesthood, the whole thing that we have through Jesus Christ. And the comparison is over against the book of Leviticus. And the end of the book of Leviticus, how does it end? The people are all alienated from God. The covenant was to bring them into fellowship with God, actually separated them from God and dispersed them into the world. So the old covenant having failed, it was necessary that God create a new covenant in order that man might be brought unto God. That new covenant God has established and confirmed it through Jesus Christ.
Now if you don’t want Jesus Christ, then the only way you can relate to God is under the old covenant. But no one was able to successfully relate to God under that old covenant. But that’s your only choice. “For there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved”(Acts 4:12), Peter said, “the name of Jesus.” So He is our hope. He is the basis of our covenant that we have. He is the basis of our relationship with God, and we have fellowship with God through Him, and through the blood of His covenant.
So go back and read Hebrews this week. You’re going to find the book of Hebrews is just going to come alive and open up to you like never before, having now had this foundation in Leviticus, and this old covenant which did fail. Now go back and reaffirm that relationship that you have with God through this new covenant in Jesus Christ, established under better promises.
Shall we stand?
Now as we go through the book of Numbers, whenever you get into the numbers, just skip it if you want. It’s not required reading. When you get into the genealogies of the families, skip those, they’re not required reading. I’ll let you off on that, but there are some neat little nuggets buried in some of these genealogies, and truths, and thoughts. So we’ll take the first ten chapters of Numbers next week, but you don’t have to read the whole thing. There are portions that you can just scan. But don’t scan the whole thing because there is some really valuable truths in this first ten chapters of Numbers, and so we’ll take the ten moving on through. May the Lord bless you and prosper you in His love, and in His grace, and in His fullness. May you just experience that joy of the Lord as your strength. May you be established in the hope that is ours through Jesus Christ, as we look for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, who shall establish God’s kingdom and bring us all into that glorious age of ruling and reigning with Him, on an earth that has been renewed and revitalized. One on which we’ll keep the Sabbaths, no doubt, the years and the whole thing, glorious age of the King. May God sustain you, give you strength and power. In Jesus’ name.