Today’s Bible reading is Leviticus 25-26, Psalm 42, and Mark 14. Our devotional is from Leviticus 25.
Leviticus 25 instructs the children of Israel in matters concerning the land the LORD promised would be a perpetual inheritance for Abraham’s 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 “Jubilee” (25:2 -4, 8-13).
The “Sabbath year” occurred every seven years and was, as its name implies, a year of ceasing from labor for the farmers and their lands. The people were instructed 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) [although some scholars argue the “Jubilee” was actually the 49th year]. The year of Jubilee was also a year of celebration and restoration. Families who, due to poverty, sold their plots of land had them restored to their original owners (25:23-28).
The year of Jubilee was also a year of liberty for those who, because of poverty, had become 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 and restored to their families in the year of Jubilee.
The Sabbath years and years of Jubilee are foreign concepts to us in our 21st century economy; however, there are some principles in Leviticus 25 we should not pass by lightly.
The Sabbath year (25:2) was more than a year of rest from labor in the fields; it was also an acknowledgement that blessings and prosperity come from the LORD. The Sabbath year served as an opportunity for the people to reflect on the goodness and provision of the LORD (25:20-22).
Reminding us we are 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 or 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. Estate sales and auctions are perpetual reminders…You cannot take it with you! After all, you will go to your grave and others will eventually claim your possessions. As someone has observed, you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer to the cemetery.
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.
* A fitting reminder given this devotional is my 2,000th blog post to www.HeartofAShepherd.com.
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith