Monday, August 7, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Leviticus 25-27
Today’s scripture reading brings us to the closing chapters of the Book of Leviticus. For those who persevered in their reading through this book of the Bible that was perhaps foreign to your knowledge of God’s Word, congratulations! I stated in my introductory devotional commentary to Leviticus (June 12, 2017) that this book began where the Book of Exodus concluded.
Our study focused on: 1) detailed instructions regarding offering sacrifices (Leviticus 1-7); 2) the consecration of the Aaronic priesthood (Leviticus 8-10); 3) the law of God concerning animals deemed clean and unclean by God (Leviticus 11-15); 4) and the holiness God demands of those who approach Him in worship and offer sacrifices (Leviticus 17-25).
Leviticus 25 instructed the children of Israel in matters concerning the land He had promised would be a perpetual inheritance for Abraham and his lineage (Genesis 12:1; 13:14-15; 17:8). Two occasions are discussed in this chapter, the seventh year Sabbath and the fiftieth year of “Jubile” (25:2 -4, 8-13). I will take the liberty to discuss both occasions briefly.
The “Sabbath year” occurred every seven years and was, as its name implies, a year of rest for both the farmers and their lands. The people were to labor in their fields for six years, but on the seventh year they were not to sow seed, prune their vineyards, or harvest any fruits or vegetables that “groweth of its own accord” (25:3-7).
Seven “Sabbath years” were to pass (numbering forty-nine years) and the fiftieth year would be to the people a year of “Jubilee” (25:8-13). The year of Jubilee was an additional Sabbath, meaning the lands and vineyards were idle for two years, the forty-ninth and fiftieth years (25:11). The year of Jubilee was a year of celebration when families who sold their allotted lands, more often due to poverty, were permitted to purchase their family lands and restore them to their families (25:23-28).
The same opportunity of liberty was given to those who, because of poverty became indentured servants (25:39-43). The children of Israel were not to enslave their brethren, but treat them as hired servants. However, all indentured servants were set at liberty to return to their families in the year of Jubilee.
The Sabbath and Jubilee years are foreign to us in our 21st century economy; however, there are principles found in Leviticus 25 that we should not pass over lightly. The Sabbath year was “a Sabbath unto the LORD” (25:2) and was more than a year of rest from laboring in the fields; it was also an acknowledgement that the LORD blesses and prospers His people. The LORD promised to so bless the harvest of the sixth year that there would be plenty for the Sabbath year (25:20-22). The Sabbath year served was an opportunity to reflect on the goodness and provision of the LORD for His people.
Reminding us we are at best temporal owners of the things we possess, the LORD instructed the people, “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me” (Leviticus 25:23).
While we do not follow the pattern of Sabbath years and the year of Jubilee, the principle found in Leviticus 25:23 is nonetheless true! Whether you live in a mansion or a shanty, count your millions or your pennies; you are at best a temporal owner of your possessions. I am often struck by that reality when visiting garage sales, attending estate sales or hearing of an auction of family possessions.
Friend, we are “strangers and sojourners” in this world and you and I would be wise to make sure we focus our affections on the eternal and not the temporal. After all, you will go to your grave and others will eventually claim everything you possess.
Matthew 6:20-21 – But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith