Redeem. What does it mean? To us? Israel? God?
The word redeem is larger than we know. The time to redeem is now!
Many of you know this… but it is an important comparison. It is something that needs to be heard.
It used to be—and still is, in quite a few small farm shops and even other businesses—that if you got a product that came in a glass bottle, there would be an OPPORTUNITY for redemption. So, if you took a bottle or several bottles back to the market, you would be compensated for it. There would be a ‘reward.’
And the reason for this is because the original distributors packaging the product wouldn’t have to deal with the logistics or cost of getting new bottles; and so, even with the cost of redemption, it still benefited both sides. Both the person taking the bottle to be redeemed and the one paying the price came away happy.
Our God is a great redeemer! He paid the price for us to be able to come to Him with a used, unclean bottle and find redemption. And because of His love for us, He does not care about the price He is paying. He does not care that it cost Him something precious when He was the one who created the ‘product’ in the first place. He wants us renewed. He wants us redeemed.
But… it does not end there…
Just as a bottle that is redeemed does not just go into the back room to be refilled without first being cleaned. Without being prepared for the new thing. So we are not filled up and reused without first being cleaned. Without the blood of Jesus, His Spirit, and ALL HIS WAYS preparing us for the new thing.
After we are prepared, yes, we can be filled. We are filled. And the lid; the seal. That is put back on. So that we can do what we were created to do. So we can fulfill our purpose.
God is One Who Redeems
The redemption God brings to His children… that is beyond compare. That is THE MOST AMAZING THING! That is the HEART of the desire of the Lord. But HE redeems more than we realize!
- God redeems relationships.
- God redeems cast-off dreams and goals.
- God redeems lost hope.
- God redeems with love.
- God redeems ‘missed’ opportunities.
- God redeems tired, worn-down joy.
- God redeems covenant.
- God redeems…
- God redeems.
- God redeems!
Get that into your spirit. GOD REDEEMS. GOD REDEEMS! GOD REDEEMS!
We have a God who rejoices in redemption. It is a deep part of who God is. Yet, it is something we often fail to recognize. We need to understand that He is the One Who REDEEMS…
We are made in His image. We are made to be like Him. And since our God is a redeemer… then surely, we are meant to redeem. To be like our God…
So, while we are not able to redeem in every way He does, we can still be a part of redemption. We can, through God’s light in us, lead people to Him and His love of redemption. We can bring the ‘bottles’ to God to renew, cleanse, and fill. And that in itself is precious.
God has redeemed Israel; His covenant with her and His people. God has restored, and given the land of Israel to His children as He promised. He has done the exchange of giving for empty, used bottles; but next comes the cleansing and filling.
Israel—the land, the culture, and the people—has begun the process of cleansing and filling. Yet, we can see there is more to do. The promises of God that come after the return of Israel are only partially completed: from promises of prosperity, to the desert blooming, to Israel knowing Him in fullness. Certainly they have begun, and even more certainly God always keeps His Word and Promises… but as God’s children, made in His image, how can we help to bring redemption?
In Israel there is a large desert known as the Negev. It is largely devoid of plant life and, while beautiful, it does not quite yet qualify as ‘the desert blooming.’ But God is redeeming it…
A hundred years ago there were dramatically fewer farms, groves, and the like in that desert… God has certainly begun what He promised. But more farms and groves need to be established. There is still much that God is letting us do to cause the desert to bloom…
Growing grape vines in the desert does not, perhaps, appear to be the best step toward this, but God has created a way for them to thrive even in the desert. He has given His children wisdom with water, with planting, and with the overall care of His creation. So, when He has me or you plant a grape vine through our sponsorship, in His wisdom it becomes a part of the desert blooming. It thrives and brings life to once barren land.
But what else can we do?
“Therefore, prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, ‘Thus says the Lord God… “But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.”’”
—Ezekiel 36:6, 8 (emphasis added)
The people of Israel have returned thanks to the Lord, and since then, we have seen the amazing increase of the land year by year. We see better and better, greater and greater produce quality and yields. Yet, the prophet Amos says in chapter nine that the Gentiles are meant to be a part of this. Then Romans 11 confirms this—reminding us how we are grafted in and how the fullness of the Jews is good for all—and James 2 seals this by telling us that faith without works is dead.
We each have a part to play in all of this! The redemption brought to Israel and her people by God is key, but God wants to include us in the fullness of that redeeming; in receiving and giving God’s blessings of redemption!
At My Olive Tree this redemption is largely in the form of planting olive trees and grape vines to renew the land, bring hope, and prosperity. However, another way we help is by selling “Made in Israel” products, so that Israel can prosper JUST AS HE SPOKE! They can be redeemed, cleansed, and filled!
We are created in God’s image. In the image of our GREAT REDEEMER! We can play our part in the redemption the Lord brings; we can do all God desires us to!