If you won one million dollars, what would you do first?
What if you were awarded one million dollars every year for the rest of your life? How would you live? How would you treat people? How would you treat yourself? Would people be able to tell that you were an entirely new person?
What if instead of the million dollars, you were given something even better?
Speaking of what ifs, the Israelites’ most amazing “what if” was finally about to come true. After years of moving from place to place, it was almost time to settle in the Promised Land.
And God wanted to make sure it would be everything He had promised. So He reminded the Israelites how to live, how to treat others and how to treat themselves. A lot of His instructions, like the year of Jubilee described in this chapter, were a little strange. They weren’t like the laws of the other inhabitants of Canaan, their neighbors-to-be.
Would anyone be able to tell how different the Israelites were?
The Israelites were definitely different. They were weird. In a world where everyone had multiple gods, they had just One. In a time where everyone worshipped an idol, they believed in a God who was everywhere all at once.
And in a land where survival was key and greed kept you alive, the Israelites had the Year of Jubilee.
Every seven years, all debts were cancelled. Just like that. Student loan debt? Gone. Someone waiting for you to pay them back? Not anymore. And it wasn’t just money, it was everything. Land was returned to the original owners. Servants and slaves were set free.
It must have been great, but it wasn’t just for fun. God created the Year of Jubilee to be a reminder. “The Lord your God will bless you…he will richly bless you…as he has promised” (verses 4, 6).
The key words there are the Lord your God. No one needed to exact every last penny from their debtors because God would provide. No one needed to sell their homes or themselves forever to pay off their debts because God owned everything already.
The Israelites were free to live radically. God taught them to be “openhanded”, to “freely lend” (verse 8). He taught them that they’d never have to borrow from anyone or be subject to anyone – they’d always be the lenders, the rulers (verse 6).
The Israelites could live freely, unafraid, full of generosity, full of hope. All because of the God they served.
Fast forward several thousand years, to you and me. We serve the same God as the Israelites did! We also believe God is the ultimate Provider, the Owner and Creator of everything we see!
And it should show, right? It should show in how we talk, how we smile! It should show on our social media, in how we spend our money, in how we treat our bodies. It should show in our relationships, on our jobs, in our free time! Falling in love with Jesus should be the ultimate glow up, the best medicine, the anchor in every storm.
We’re millionaires – no, we’re even better than millionaires! All because of the God we serve.
“I have promised you so much more than this.”
Yet we don’t live the way God taught us to live. We live in poverty. We live in fear. We live in depression. We live pretending everything is fine.
If you were to win a million dollars, your entire life would change. We’ve all been offered something so much better: the love of the most powerful Being in the universe. Has your life changed? Has my life changed?
Or is our very unchanged life suggesting that there’s a problem? Maybe we don’t believe. Maybe we haven’t accepted God’s gift. Maybe we’re biding our time, hoping to have our fun before finally getting serious about God once we’re in our 40s.
It’s kind of like saying “Wait, hold on! I don’t know if I want a million dollars.” Or “Let me get back to you on that life-changing amount of money.” Or “I still want to do some of the poor people stuff I used to do for a little while longer, and then I’ll accept this gift.”
In other words, maybe our problem is that we’ve lost our minds. We’d rather hold on to our darkness and our sin and our “fun” than accept the biggest gift it is possible to give someone.
We cannot live like this. We can’t afford to miss out on eternal life. We can’t afford to miss out on Jesus. We can’t afford to miss out on this gift.
And you guys, it’s so easy to accept it. All it takes is a moment. All it takes is an honest prayer, and the tiniest amount of faith. Tell God we’ve messed up. We’ve been deceived into thinking His gift wasn’t worth this much. Say we want to accept it. Ask Him to help us do that. This is the moment He’s been waiting for. He won’t deny us.
I promise you and I promise myself – our lives will change. The way we treat others will change. The way we treat ourselves will change. Everyone will be able to tell that we are entirely new people.
And then, like the millionaires we are, we’ll pass it on.
What do you think? How should we live knowing who God is and what He’s capable of? Comment below and share this with someone who needs hope.
2 thoughts on “Empire State of Mind (Deuteronomy 15)”
A million dollars a week,for life does not erase pain, sickness, loss, betrayal, loneliness, etc. Our relationship with God is worth far, far more than all the money in the world.
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