Crystal Writes A Blog

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Paying Our IOUs

IOU More Chocolate by Flickr User Tom_Bullock, CC License = Attribution

IOU More Chocolate by Flickr User Tom_Bullock, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

If someone hurts you, even unintentionally, isn’t it nice to get an apology that says the person really cares how the hurtful behavior affected you? And if that hurt cost you something, isn’t it even nicer when the person who did the hurting makes an effort to make restitution? Knowing how nice that is, I’m sure you can agree that when you make apologies and restitutions for your own poor behaviors that you are doing more than just making up for a wrong, you are becoming a blessing.

In today’s reading from Numbers 5:1 through Numbers 5:10, God is giving Moses more instruction for how to keep the community of Israel peaceful. God wants to make sure the camp will not be defiled because that is where He lives among the people, and making restitution for wrongs done to others is one way to keep the camp a pleasant place for Our Creator to dwell.

The reading begins with instructions on putting the diseased outside the camp. Now, I don’t think God felt He might catch anything, so His instructions for keeping people on the outside until they were healed was for the benefit of everyone else in the camp. If a lot of people became diseased, or better said “in a state of dis ease,” there would be chaos in the camp instead of peace. Better to not have people running around with anxiety and rejecting every person with a suspicious spot on his or her skin.

The portion goes on to talk about actual restitution by telling Moses to make sure that all debts against another are paid. It says that if a man or woman commits a sin against another human being, that person incurs guilt for breaking faith with Yahveh. When that happens, the person must confess his wrongdoing and make full restitution for his guilt plus add twenty percent to give to the victim of his sin. This restitution is in addition to the ram offering of restitution, and it’s so important, that if the victim has no family to receive the restitution, it is still to be paid but given to the priests.

The last statement given for keeping the camp at peace is a reminder that whatever the people of Israel consecrate to the high priest belongs to him. It is his property, and he will decide how to divide it among the rest of the priests. This means that if we promise something toward God’s work, it belongs to that ministry even before we give it, so we should keep our word. I admit that I have too easily made promises out of heightened emotion without checking with my husband or my calendar first, but I hope I have kept those promises and paid those debts because I don’t want to be spending someone else’s money or time as my own.

As for restitution, I know we often think of the blood of Christ as paying for all of our debts in full, and in a very big way, that is totally correct–in the way of paying for the wages of sin that would be death. But I think God wants us to make restitution when we can for more than the reason of just paying our debts. It says above to make restitution in addition to the sacrifice, and I think it’s because it helps the doer of the deed pay attention, so he won’t repeat the misdeed. It also adds a tangible freedom to the spiritual freedom we receive in Messiah. And, as I said above, it can help the sinner become a blessing to the person he sinned against.

I just rewatched The Passion of The Christ movie yesterday, and it still brings me to tears when I see what all Yeshua went through for me. I know that if no one ever sinned, from Adam to me and beyond, He would not have had to go through the torture, the disrespect, the false accusations, the pain and the death He suffered. I know I have gained multiple debts in my life–especially when I was young and had no understanding of how my actions affected others, and I know He bore those things all the way to Calvary, so I could be free of them.

As the lyrics say, “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay; I needed someone to wash my sins away.” He did that for me. And now, because I am thankful for all He did, and because I love Him with all my being, I want to keep myself clear of debts–current and future, to the best of my ability. If I sin against someone, or if I hurt someone, I want to make it up to that person and be a blessing. As Forrest Gump might say, “Life is like a box of chocolates; if you eat the ones that belong to someone else, you should buy them another box.” 🙂

May 19, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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