Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God’s people were to honor God by providing an economic safety net for the poor. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live by the spirit of providing an economic safety net for the poor, especially poor believers.
Body: Read Leviticus 25:8-12 I. Concept of Jubilee. In this section of the Sunday School material a jubilee year is established. It is to be every fifty years.
It is a time for people to go back to their family’s property. It is a time to simply eat whatever grows, as opposed to sowing and reaping.
Applications – - Sabbath and Jubilee principles. Notice in vss. 8, 10 of the Sunday School material the idea of a Sabbath year and a Jubilee year. Both ideas urge a resting and a resetting in obedience to God.
There are too many who never take a break. There are too many who never give others a break. There are too many who are victims of a never ending downward falling into debt.
Even though we are not under the Mosaic Law, we should strive to find ways to live by the spirit of these ideas. Let’s pray about and practice the ideas Sabbath and Jubilee. That is to say, we should pray about and practice ways of resting, ways of resetting, and ways of helping others to rest and reset.
- God’s presence. Notice in vs. 9 of the Sunday School material the sounding of the trumpet. This unmistakable sounding of the trumpet was to signal the presence of the Lord and people paying attention to such.
This may be a great way to start our worship services. Too often people enter the sanctuary chit-chatting and doing some of everything except focusing on being in the presence of the Lord.
Let’s work on being more attentive to God’s presence. The hope of being attentive is that we would reflect on His promises and become more obedient to His principles.
Read Leviticus 25:25 II. Redemption of Land. The possibility of a Hebrew becoming poor is presented. In such a case, the person may end up selling some of his property. However, his nearest able relative is to redeem it.
Applications – - Stewardship. Notice in vs. 25 of the Sunday School material that the nearest and able kin was to redeem the land of those countrymen who sold their property because of poverty.
First, think about how many people never had any property to sell. They were born in an apartment or rented house and lived in such all of their lives as did their parents and parent’s parents.
Second, think about how many people become poor because they spend money on things they don’t need. There are many who have closets full of shoes and cloths along with all kinds of music CDs, movie DVDs, and video games but no mutual funds, no stocks, no bonds, and no real estate.
Third, there is often a great amount of drama or at least distance, when it comes to money issues in many families. In other words, some of us can gather for family reunions, where we laugh and enjoy one another’s company.
However, when it comes down to bailing one another out of debt, the conversation has a dramatic change in tone. Let’s strive to be better stewards of what God has put in our trust. This calls for using our money wisely to prevent poverty. And it calls for being willing to help those who have fallen on hard times.
Read Leviticus 25:35-40, 47, 48, 55 III. Rescue of People. In this section of the Sunday School material we see if a countryman becomes poor, he is to be helped as an alien or temporary resident.
Taking interest from him or selling food to him at a profit are prohibited. God’s goodness to the Hebrews is to inspire their kindness to the poor. Poor countrymen are not to be worked as slaves.
Applications – - Principles for the “haves’ and “have nots.” Notice in vss. 35-37, 30-40, 47, 48, 56 the idea of helping, not hurting, those who are unable to support themselves.
These verses talk about providing a place to stay. They talk about not charging interest on loans or making profit on food. They talk about not treating them as slave laborers. And they talk about redeeming them from aliens. Very clearly, on one hand, the “haves” are to help the “have nots.”
But on the other hand, the “have nots” are to try to help themselves. Verse 35 of the Sunday School material talks about a person becoming poor and being unable to support themselves. The implication is they are trying to support themselves.
A clearer implication is that they need to hit poverty. There are too many people who think that they are entitled to a middle class life style because other family members have been blessed to accomplish such. This is not the teaching of the text.
The text urges the middle class to help people who are poor. Notice further in vss. 39-40 the implication that the person is working, not just sitting back enjoying support. Let’s work on carrying out the spirit of these verses.
The “have nots” should work to take care of themselves. The “haves” should provide a safety net for those whose best efforts fall short.
- Faith based economic safety net. Notice in vss. 38, 55 of the Sunday School material that the under-girding for the strong taking care of the weak is the goodness and commands of God.
God has been good to us, so we can be good to others. God commands us to be good to others. For us to claim to be disciples of Christ but have no regard for the economic well being of others places a great cloud of suspicion over our claim.
Let’s work on being mature enough in the Lord to help people with economic empowerment. This should especially be the case with those in the body of Christ.
It would be a marvelous ministry to work towards every member of the church being a debt free home owner who pays his/her tithes. Economic empowerment ministry is much more than volunteering at the homeless shelter and giving a few dollars.
Conclusion: Let’s work on living by the spirit of providing an economic safety net for the poor, especially poor believers. God has much for those who obey His will.
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