What do you owe?

Just got a letter from the IRS that I owe them about $40 – I have paid off my taxes alright, but that is the interest and penalty from 2 years ago. Uncle Sam always gets you up to the last penny you owe him.

Leviticus 26:33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.

In the Old Testament history of Israel, we learn that Israel have been unfaithful to the Lord and therefore the Lord punished them through exile into Babylon. We have learned that they were punished because of idolatry. Leviticus 26 put the exile in a different light. The exile is also a punishment for violating Sabbath.

When we reflect upon this statement, violation of Sabbath is indeed both a form of idolatry and a result of idolatry. Worshiping idols in pagan temples demonstrates a lack of Faith in one’s religious life, violating Sabbath demonstrates a lack of Faith in one’s social-economic life. If you decide to work on Sabbath instead of honoring the Lord, you are showing the world that you have more faith in your bank account than in the Lord’s provisions.

Leviticus 26 also tells us that when we violate Sabbath, we owe a debt to “the land”. I have explained in previous blogs that “the land” is not a inanimate piece of real estate. Instead “the land” is an organic entity God created to sustain both the rich and the poor, both domesticated animals and wild beasts – what we would call an ecosystem. When we violate Sabbath, the environmental condition worsens; the land cannot adequately provide for the poor, and social-economic conditions worsens.

The land belongs to the Lord, and the Lord will be its advocate. Back to the example of Old Testament Israel: let’s say the nation began with King David, who rose to the throne circa 1010 B.C – give or take a few years as David did not rose to power overnight. The nation was destroy by the Babylonian around  590 B.C. also give or take a few years because the were a few rounds of destruction. (Jerusalem was captured 586 B.C.) So the nation lasted roughly 420 years. For every six years of working the land there should have been one year of Sabbath. 420 divided by 6 is 70. How long was the Babylonian captivity? 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:11) Bad news – God is a good accountant.

How much debt have we accumulated as a society against the environment? How much debt have we accumulated against the poor? How much do you owe personally?

I have bad news for you and for all of us – God is a good accountant.