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On Mount Sinai God didn’t just give the people rules and laws about what was right and wrong. He also told them things to teach them how to be wise, and just, and fair. He taught them things about how to live. How to let the land “rest” so that it would grow the best crops. And how to treat each other to have good relationships.
But, mostly He was trying to show them things about who He is. So when you are reading your Bible, notice who God is and what He is like.
One thing that you will learn about God as you listen and notice, is that God is Just. That means He’s fair. Many of the statutes in the Covenant of Rules involved fairness and what to do when bad things happened.
For example, God said, “If you hurt someone, your punishment must match the owie you gave someone else: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a bruise for a bruise.”
That means if you poked someone in the eye, your punishment would be to have your eye poked. That’s justice. That’s fair. There were always consequences, even if something was an accident.
Another thing God said was, “Suppose someone digs a pit and doesn’t cover it. If a cow falls into the pit, the owner of the pit must pay for the cow.”
That sounds fair, too, doesn’t it?
So the law was full of teaching people how to see that our actions have consequences.
But there was another thing that God’s Agreement of Rules talked about — Freedom.
After 50 years, right before the Feast of Tabernacles (those little shelters), something super duper happened. God called it “The Year of Jubilee.” He said, “Every 50th year will be Holy — a very special year. Blow your trumpet and shout, ‘You’re Free!’ to everyone in the land.” During this year, the word on everyone’s minds would be “free, free, free!”
If you were a slave, your master would say, “Go back home. You’re free!”
If you owed someone money, you’d be told, “Ah, forget about it. You’re free!”
If you had sold your house or your land because you needed the money, the person who’d bought it from you would tell you, “Here’s your house back. It’s free!”
Even for the fields and the grape vines, God said, “Don’t eat from them. This year, let them grow free!”
Hmmm. Does that sound fair?
Do you know how God explained this special year? God said, “Do this because I want you to remember that you are all Mine. You are not owned by other people. And your land does not really belong to you. The food you grow is really Mine. And the money you have — Mine. I AM the One who gave it to you. You and everything you have belongs to Me.”
Of course, everything belongs to God. So He could do whatever He wanted. And, once again, God was showing everyone something about Himself, about who He is. He wanted people to be free. This was just a little sneak peek about how His Big Plan is to set people free, free, free. He wants to forgive and to give.
He is a merciful and marvelous God full of justice, forgiveness and freedom!
And you’ll keep learning as we go along, but both Justice and Freedom are found in God’s heart. But God had to teach us His justice first (through His Covenant of Rules)… before Jesus could come and shout, “You’re Free!”