S (Scripture): Leviticus 25:8 “‘You must count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, and the days of the seven weeks of years will amount to forty-nine years. 9 You must sound loud horn blasts – in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, on the Day of Atonement – you must sound the horn in your entire land. 10 So you must consecrate the fiftieth year, and you must proclaim a release in the land for all its inhabitants. That year will be your jubilee; each one of you must return to his property and each one of you must return to his clan. 11 That fiftieth year will be your jubilee; you must not sow the land, harvest its aftergrowth, or pick the grapes of its unpruned vines. 12 Because that year is a jubilee, it will be holy to you – you may eat its produce from the field.
13“‘In this year of jubilee you must each return to your property.”
O (Observation): God continues with rules and regulations for God’s people. Here, we see talk of caring for the land and for its ownership. Every 50 years (7 weeks of years; 7 x 7 = 49) the land, if sold off to pay debts or for other reasons, is to be set back to the original land owner.
This is God’s way of setting things back to the way they were…to the way God first ordained things.
Some people who were indebted to others were required to work the lands of their debtors. The jubilee year allowed people to be released from their debts, and to go back to their home lands.
In addition to the land being set back to its original landowners, the lands that were used to bear produce are also to lie fallow to give the land its rest.
A (Application): Sounds somewhat unfair, no? If I have something and I’ve earned it, and I give some of it to someone else, shouldn’t they be required to pay me back until we are even?
If I have land, shouldn’t I continue to use it year after year to make more produce?
Our world answers “yes” to both questions.
Yet, that is not God’s desire. God desires for us to consider the Sabbath not just as a personal or communal practice for rest, but extends the idea of Sabbath to our debts to one another, and to our ties to our homelands.
(Exception: knowing several farmers, I’ve seen them rotate their fields : ) They get the understanding of letting a field lie fallow. But if I’m in an office building, and I want to see an increase in yield, I just might order that land to be used anyway.)
Indebtedness could go on ad infinitum, causing us to be lords over one another, with prejudice and without end. Land could be so overused, it cannot bear fruit. Without a long standing history in their new land, God desires for the people to always have a homeland to which they and their family can return.
God’s grace trumps indebtedness, effectively mashing the big “RESET” button. Sometimes, we just can’t find our way out on our own. And so grace saves us.
What indebtedness do you owe? Is it owed in the eyes of the world? How does this concept come to fruition in Christ?
P (Prayer): Lord, forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebted to us. Amen.