For the week of March 20, 1999 / 3 Nisan 5759
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Haftarah: Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Read the Fine Print
Return to me for I have redeemed you (Isaiah 44:22).
Redeemed. What does that mean? The concept of redemption is not something that we hear too much about in our day. But if you look closely at the fine print on a merchandise coupon you will see something like, "Dear merchant: The manufacturer will redeem this coupon for the amount of the product."
When someone gives a retail outlet a coupon, the customer gets the product at a reduced rate, while the retailer is left with an almost useless piece of paper. If the coupon is sent to the manufacturer, then the retailer will be reimbursed. The retailer had to endure a temporary loss. Redemption is the restoration of that loss.
The concept of redemption actually goes back to an Old Covenant custom (see Vayikra / Leviticus 25:25-54). In those days if someone could not pay their debts, they or their land would become the property of those to whom they were indebted. One of the ways that they or their property would be released back to them would be if a close relative assumed the debt on their behalf. That's redemption.
So like the coupon, a temporary loss was incurred that was then assumed by another.
This is what the Lord is saying to us: "Return to me for I have redeemed you." But why do we need to be redeemed? When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, we incurred loss. We lost our lives to the Evil One. God had intended for us to live as his children, but instead we have been controlled by evil. Instead of being servants of God, we became slaves of the Devil.
But God did not leave us there. That is what his new covenant is all about:
God made provision for our redemption through the sacrifice of the Messiah. Some say that salvation is free. It is only free to us. It cost God very much!
And so God calls to us, "Return to me for I have redeemed you." Some of us are like retailers with drawers filled with coupons. We look at them thinking they are worthless. But look at the fine print: Return to the manufacturer for full redemption.
Our lives may seem worthless to us. But God has provided redemption. All we need to do is return to our Manufacturer, our Creator. Then we will know our true value.
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