Saturday, 6 November 2010

To fulfil the seventy years

And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. – 2 Chronicles 36v20-21

I remember a seminar on Bible teacher with a guy I learned a lot from and who greatly influences my Bible teaching methods. It was excellent. In just a few hours we experienced a brief summary of the Bible laid out in a way that it was fun and easy to remember. I still, some thirty or so years later, use a lot of those methods.

He gave a key lesson from each historical Bible period. For the stage he called activity the theme was ‘God always gets His due’ and it was based on this passage.

As part of the law given on Sinai Israel was required to have a Sabbath year. During that year the land was allowed to lay fallow. Like so much of the law this was for the people’s good. It was another way to not wear out the land. Most farmers today use a version of this when they rotate crops from field to field.

The important thing is that they had to do it because God told them to. It was God’s law and they violated it. For 490 years since they entered Canaan they had ignored the instructions to rest the land. So, in order to let the land rest God took the people out of the land so that it could rest for those seventy years.

God gets His due. These rest years were His and if they were not going to give it to Him He was going to take it.

I think this teacher was on to something, but that I understood in a wrong context. I have always seen in that if we don’t do what God wants us to do He is going to just take it.

I don’t think that is true. He gives us free will and simply allows us to suffer the consequences of our actions. He may chasten us to work on holiness, but He does not just take ‘His due.’

However, I think there is a blessing for us. Under the Law it is obvious that God kept close accounts of sins. It is almost like God ticked off missed year after missed year until the total hit seventy, and then He took His land.

I am grateful though, that in Christ that accounting has been settled. All of my sins on that heavenly tick list have been sorted. Christ has taken that list and marked them ‘paid in full.’ Jesus has paid the debt and satisfied the requirement that God will ‘get His due.’

Praise God for the One who paid what I owed.

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