Fairness; January 19, 2021

Leviticus 25:17 “Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.”

In this chapter God instates a system that, if properly followed, would have resulted in incredible blessing, but which was actually followed very little, if I read the record correctly. “Sabbath years” don’t really come up in the Old Testament after this, and “Jubilee years” come up only in prophecy. The Sabbath year was and is sound agricultural practice, and is reflected in the practice of crop rotation today. They didn’t have chemical fertilizers, much less chemical soil analysis, so they didn’t know what the land needed to produce the best crops. The Sabbath year principle was to force them to give the land a “breather,” so to speak, and be replenished in various ways. The Jubilee year was for social renewal. Human society has a way of tying itself in knots, so God was saying that every 50 years they were to let the knots come untied. A major part of that was the whole principle of fairness, and that’s what this verse addresses. Today we would say that under this system land couldn’t be sold, but only leased. As it says in the verse before this, what was really being bought and sold was the productivity of the land. That would force the people to be more fair with each other and to fear God, as it says here. Someone who genuinely fears God is without question going to be the best sort of person to do business with.

I tend to agree that children are born with an innate sense of fairness, but I have seen that twisted and/or abused many, many different ways. Right now it is being abused by the “social justice warriors” who are insisting on equality of outcome (or so they say). The problem is, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, even within a family everyone is dealt a different hand of cards. What is needed is equality of opportunity, because it ultimately isn’t “fair” to give one person what another person has worked for. As I have written recently, I haven’t been the best steward of what I have been given; I haven’t worked for success. When I have been diligent, good things have happened, for the most part, and when I haven’t been diligent, much less so. At the same time, I have had to learn not to focus on whether things were “fair.” Frankly, from the human perspective they often aren’t. I have had to learn to release things to God and trust Him to use them for good. (Romans 8:28) Just yesterday I had a minor traffic accident, that my insurance agent said would probably be adjudicated as 80% my fault. I was indeed not sufficiently careful at a relatively blind corner, and complaining that things “aren’t fair” benefits no one. It wasn’t fair to the young girl driving the other car, either, but this will be a good step toward her maturity, if she will allow it to be so. I am to be grateful that there were no injuries involved, and that I have good insurance. Also, I am to express proper contrition to her, following up on a personal level for her benefit.

Father, thank You for the Scripture this morning, and for the accident yesterday. Thank You that my response was very different than it might have been years ago. Help me leave fairness in Your hands, rejoicing to be Your child and doing what You say to do, when and how You say to do it, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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