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47 If a foreigner or outsider living among you becomes rich enough to buy a slave, and one of your fellow citizens has become poor enough he has to sell himself as a slave to him or to his extended family, 48-49 then your fellow citizen has the right to be redeemed. One of his brothers, his uncle, his cousin, or any more distant relative may buy him back. If he makes enough money, he can purchase his own freedom. 50 As for the man who bought him, he and the buyer will determine the price based on how many years are between the year he sold himself and the year of jubilee. The time with his owner must be valued as if he were a hired hand. 51-52 Whether there are many years left before the jubilee or just a few, the cost of his redemption is determined by those remaining years. 53 He must be treated as a laborer hired year to year, and you need to make sure the owner does not treat him harshly. 54 If he is not able to gain his freedom this way, he and his children will be freed in the year of jubilee. 55 For the Israelites are truly My servants; I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Eternal One, your God.
26 Eternal One: Do not fashion any idols or blasphemous images. Do not erect any sacred pillars as the nations around you do. Do not set up any carved stones in your land and bow down to them. I am the Eternal your God. 2 Honor My Sabbaths, and treat My sanctuary as a holy place. I am the Eternal One.
3 If you walk in My decrees and keep My commandments in your daily lives, 4 I will grant you plenty of rain in the seasons when you need it, and your land will produce abundant crops and your trees will be filled with fruit. 5 Your grain threshing will last until the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest will continue until it is time to plant again. You will fill your bellies with food and feel secure as you live in the land. 6 I will see to it that you have peace in your land. You will be able to go to bed at night without a worry on your mind. I will take away the dangerous animals that roam your land, and no armies will invade your land. 7-8 When you go after your enemies, they will fall by your sword. Five of you will go after 100 of your enemies, and 100 of you will cause 10,000 to flee. 9 I will grant you My favor, and you will be fruitful, multiply, and have many healthy children, and I will continue to honor My covenant with you. 10 You will have so much surplus food from year to year that you will have to make room for the new harvest when it comes in. 11 I will make my home among you and never turn away from you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.[a] 13 I am the Eternal One, your God, who led you out of the land of Egypt so that you would no longer be their slaves. I have shattered the yokes that broke your backs and helped you walk straight and upright.
14 However, if you do not obey Me or live by all I have commanded, 15 if you turn your backs on My decrees and despise what I have commanded so that you fail to do as I have directed and break the covenant that exists between us, 16 then this is what you can expect: I will bring a horrific cloud of terror over you, and you will waste away in disease and burning fevers, your eyes will grow dark, and your restless souls will long for life. The seeds you plant will provide you no sustenance because raiders will consume whatever you grow. 17 I will turn My face against you and stand by as your enemies strike you down. Those who despise you will reign over you, and you will run away even when no one is chasing you. 18 If, after all this, you still do not listen to Me, then I will increase your punishment until you have paid seven times for your sins. 19 I will break you of your powerful pride, and I will make the heavens above you as cold as iron and your earth below you as hard as bronze. 20 Your strength will be wasted because the land you work will not yield its crops, and the trees you plant will not bear fruit.
21 And if, after all this, you still rebel against Me and fail to listen to Me, I will strike you until you have paid seven times for your sins. 22 I will unleash ravenous wild beasts against you, and they will deprive you of your children and destroy your livestock; before long your numbers will dwindle and your busy roads will be deserted.
23 And if, after all these punishments, you still have not turned back to Me but continue to rebel against Me, 24 I will move against you, and this time I will punish you Myself until you have paid seven times for your sins. 25 I will march armies against you that will execute My vengeance against you for the covenant you have broken. When you retreat into your cities, I will send a vicious plague among you until you fall to your adversaries. 26 I will cut off your food supply until there is so little bread that 10 women will need only one oven to bake it. When they serve it, your portion will be carefully weighed and rationed and you won’t have enough to satisfy you.
27 If, after all this, you still do not listen to Me but continue to rebel against Me, 28 I will move against you with the full heat of My fury. I will punish you Myself until you have paid seven times for your sins. 29 You will become so hungry that some of you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will demolish your high places where false worship taints the land and tear down your incense altars. I will pile your lifeless bodies on the rubble of your lifeless god-images. I will detest you. 31 I will turn your bustling cities into wastelands. I will empty and silence your pagan sanctuaries. When you do sacrifice to Me, I will pay no attention to the pleasant aromas. 32 Yes, I will move against the land until it lies in ruins, and those who conquer you and settle there will be horrified by what they see. 33 I will scatter you among the nations. I will draw My sword against you. Your land will become an eerie wasteland, and your cities will lie in ruins.
34 While you are scattered among your enemies, your land will bask in its Sabbaths. For as long as the land is barren, it will enjoy the Sabbaths and the rest it deserves. 35 For all the days it lies desolate, it will have the rest it never had while you were living on the land. 36-37 For those of you who may survive, I will make your hearts despair as you live in lands occupied by your enemies. You will be so fearful that the noise made by a windblown leaf will startle you and send you running away in panic. Even when no one is chasing after you, you will run away and trip over each other as if you are being chased by an army. You will have no power to stand up to your enemies. 38 You will die far from home in foreign lands. The land of your adversaries will devour your corpses. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in the lands of your adversaries because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors; they will surely waste away to nothing.
40 But if they own up to their sins and acknowledge the sins of their ancestors, if they admit that they have been unfaithful to Me, defied Me, and rebelled against Me— 41 which prompted Me to turn against them and scatter them among their enemies—if they humble their uncircumcised hearts and offer reparations for their sins, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, and I will also remember the land. 43 As long as the land lies deserted without them, it will catch up on the Sabbaths it has missed and be renewed. In the meantime, they must offer reparations for their sins because they turned their backs on My decrees and despised My commands. 44 But even then, as long as My people are dwelling in the land of their adversaries, I will not reject them or hate them so much that I break My covenant with them and annihilate them. I am the Eternal One, their God. 45 Still they will benefit when I remember the covenant I made with their ancestors when I led them out of the land of Egypt with the whole world watching so that I could be their God. I am the Eternal One.
46 These are the directives, commandments, and instructions the Eternal One gave through Moses on Mount Sinai to establish the covenant between Himself and the Israelites.
27 The Eternal One gave Moses the rules regarding the fulfillment of vows.
Now there is nothing to suggest that God requires His people to make vows; but when they do, they must be taken seriously. So if a person pledges to give God something in exchange for His help or blessing on a matter, then that person is bound to keep his promise. It would be better not to make a vow in the first place than to make it and not fulfill it.
Eternal One: 2 Go, talk with the Israelites and tell them that whenever someone makes a special vow to Me regarding the value of a human being, 3 the proper value of a 20- to 60-year-old male is 20 ounces of silver, according to the sanctuary weights. 4 The proper value of a female of those ages is 12 ounces. 5 If the person is 5 to 20 years old, the proper value for the male is 8 ounces; for the female 4 ounces. 6 But if the person is anywhere from one month to 5 years old, the proper value is 2 ounces of silver for males and 1¼ ounces of silver for females. 7 If the person is 60 years old or older, it is to be 6 ounces for the male and 4 ounces for the female. 8 If someone cannot afford these prices, then bring him to stand before the priest, and the priest will assess the situation and value him according to what the person can afford.
9 Whenever someone vows to give an animal that is acceptable as an offering to Me, then that animal is sacred and is the property of the sanctuary. 10 Whoever makes the vow should not switch one animal for another, a good animal for a bad, or vice versa. If someone does switch one for another, then both animals are considered sacred. 11 But if the vow involves an animal that is impure and not acceptable as an offering to Me, he needs to bring the animal before the priest. 12 The priest will determine its value—either high or low—and whatever he determines will be its price. 13 If the owner desires to buy the animal back from the sanctuary, he must pay that price plus ⅕.
This young man, like many wealthy people, is confident in his own abilities. He wants to make sure he will live well in the coming world, but he is not convinced he will not fall short of the mark. And without humbly recognizing his own sinfulness and need in the face of God’s goodness and perfection, it is indeed very hard for him to find the Kingdom.
This is the only person in the Gospels outside of the twelve whom Jesus personally invites to follow Him. He is also the only person in the Gospels to walk away from that invitation.
32 At length, they made their way toward Jerusalem. Jesus was walking ahead of them. As they neared the city, wonder and amazement filled them. But soon those who were following began to tremble.
Jesus (taking the twelve aside): 33 Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and there the Son of Man is going to be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes. They shall seek His death and deliver Him to the outsiders to carry out that sentence. 34 Then people will mock Him, spit upon Him, whip Him, and kill Him. But on the third day, He will rise again.
35 Two of the twelve—the sons of Zebedee as they were known—approached Jesus and pulled Him aside.
James and John: Teacher, will You do something for us if we ask it of You?
Jesus: 36 What is it that you want?
James and John: 37 Master, grant that we might sit on either side of You, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You come into the glory of Your kingdom.
Jesus: 38 You don’t know what it is you’re asking. Can you drink from the cup I have to drink from or be ritually washed in baptism with the baptism[a] that awaits Me?
James and John: 39 We can.
Jesus: You will indeed drink from the cup I drink from and be baptized with the baptism[b] that awaits Me. 40 But to sit at My right or at My left is an honor I cannot grant. That will be given to those for whom it has been prepared.
41 When the other ten heard about this request, they were angry with James and John; 42 but Jesus stopped them.
Jesus: You know that among the nations of the world the great ones lord it over the little people and act like tyrants. 43 But that is not the way it will be among you. Whoever would be great among you must serve and minister. 44 Whoever wants to be great among you must be slave of all. 45 Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to be a servant—to offer His life as a ransom for others.
None of the disciples understand what Jesus is telling them, and none of His predictions will become clear to them until after His resurrection. In the meantime, several of His disciples are not only failing to understand His warnings about the things to come but are missing His message on things right before their eyes. Jesus has already told them that to be great among His followers means to become humble like a child; but James and John still think that as two of His closest disciples, they can win worldly fame and power.
46 By that time, they had reached Jericho; as they passed through the town, a crowd of people followed along. They came to a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, who sat beside the main road. 47 When he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing in that throng, he called out in a loud voice.
Bartimaeus: Jesus, Son of David, take pity on me and help me!
Disgusted by the blind man’s public display, others in the crowd tried to silence him until the Master passed.
Some of the Crowd: 48 Be quiet. Shush.
Bartimaeus (still louder): Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!
49 Jesus stopped where He stood. The crowd stopped with Him. He told those near the front of the crowd to call the blind man forward.
Some of the Crowd (to Bartimaeus): Good news! Jesus has heard you. Listen—He calls for you. Get up and go to Him.
50 Bartimaeus cast aside his beggar’s robe and stepped forward, feeling his way toward Jesus.
Jesus: 51 What do you want from Me?
Bartimaeus: Teacher, I want to see.
Jesus: 52 Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace.
In that moment, Bartimaeus could see again; and from that time on, he followed Jesus.
1 My heart is bursting with a new song;
lyrics to my king erupt like a spring
for my king, to my king;
my tongue is the pen of a poet, ready and willing.
2 Better by far are you than all others, my king;
gracious words flow from your lips;
indeed, God has blessed you forever.
Psalm 45 describes the beauty, power, and influence of God’s anointed king and may have been composed in honor of a royal wedding.
Whether we realize it or not, the overall well-being of a nation is tied directly to its leaders. When the leaders are just and make good decisions, then the welfare of a nation is secure. But when leaders are unjust and make poor decisions, and they pursue personal agendas rather than the public good, then nations suffer. This is why Scripture instructs those of faith to pray for all people everywhere, especially that those in authority would lead the world to dignity and peace (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Psalm 45 celebrates that rare breed, a godly king who pursues truth and justice. It anticipates a joyful union and future children who will one day follow in the steps of their father. May the world witness a new breed of leader, fashioned in the image of this psalm.
3 With your sword at your side,
you are glorious, majestic,
a mighty warrior.
4 Ride on in splendor; ride into battle victorious,
for the sake of truth, humility, and justice.
Perform awesome acts, trained by your powerful right hand.
5 Razor-sharp arrows leap from your bow
to pierce the heart of the king’s foes;
they lie, defeated, before you.
6 O God, Your throne is eternal;
You will rule your kingdom with a scepter of justice.
7 You have loved what is right and hated what is evil.
That is why God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness and lifted you above your companions.[c]
8 All of your clothing is drenched in the rich scent of myrrh, aloes, and cassia;
In palaces decked out with ivory, beautiful stringed instruments play for your pleasure.
9 At a royal wedding with the daughters of kings among the guests of honor,
your bride-queen stands at your right, adorned in gold from Ophir.
10 Hear this, daughter; pay close attention to what I am about to say:
you must forget your people and even your father’s house.
11 Because the king yearns for your beauty,
humble yourself before him, for he is now your lord.
12 The daughter of Tyre arrives with a gift;
the wealthy will bow and plead for your favor.
13 A stunning bride, the king’s daughter waits within;
her clothing is skillfully woven with gold.
14 She, in her richly embroidered gown, is carried to the king,
her virgin companions following close behind.
15 They walk in a spirit of celebration and gratefulness.
In delight, they enter the palace of the king.
16 O king, in this place where your ancestors reigned, you will have sons;
you will make them princes throughout all the land.
17 I will make sure your name is remembered by all future generations
so that the people will offer you thanks and praise now and forever.
Perhaps the ancients knew the power of words better than we do. Words can conceal, reveal, destroy, and encourage. Words are extremely powerful, so Wisdom urges us to use a few carefully chosen words and to pick our conversations equally well.
22 The blessing of the Eternal is what makes someone rich,
and He doesn’t add pain to it.