Scripture reading assignment – Leviticus 24-25
A beautiful picture of corporate worship is introduced in Leviticus 24 as the children of Israel are invited to bring “pure oil olive beaten for light” to the Tabernacle (24:1-2). The people each had a part keeping the light continually burning in the sanctuary (24:3-4).
A spiritual crisis is recorded when the son of an Israelite woman, a man whose father was Egyptian, is guilty of cursing and blaspheming the name of the LORD (24:10-11). Accused of violating the third commandment and taking the LORD’S name in vain (Exodus 20:7), Moses ordered the man held while he sought the LORD’s will (“the mind of the LORD” – 24:12).
Understanding the weight of their testimony, those who heard the man blaspheme the LORD’S name laid “their hands upon his head” and the people carried out God’s judgment, stoning him to death outside the camp (24:14).
Expanding God’s demand for justice and restitution, we read, “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again” (24:20).
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); 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 also a year of celebration and restoration. Impoverished families who had sold their plots of land had them restored. (25:23-28).
The year of Jubilee was 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 year of Jubilee are foreign concepts to us in our 21st century economy; however, there are some principles in Leviticus 25 we should not lightly pass.
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). The LORD promised to so bless the harvest of the sixth year that there would be plenty for the Sabbath year (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” (25:23). While we do not follow the pattern of Sabbath years or the year of Jubilee, the principle found here is nonetheless true and invaluable!
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.
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 2020 – Travis D. Smith