Friday, January 4, 2008

2008--Your Year of Jubilee?

by Kathy Lay

This Week’s Verse: Leviticus 25:11, “Yes, the fiftieth year will be a jubilee for you…” (NLT).

I love that many of the Old Testament rituals and regulations, which often seem so strange to us, seem to illustrate a parallel spiritual lesson for us under the New Testament covenant. Take, for example, the Year of Jubilee as detailed in Leviticus. God declared that every 50th year would be set apart as holy, when each Hebrew would be restored his true inheritance and freedom.

One on-line source explains it this way:

Like the day of Pentecost, the year of jubilee is a sabbath of sabbaths. It is a special year among special years. Its climax was the great Day of Atonement. What happened then on this momentous once-in-a-lifetime occasion? Trumpets were sounded throughout the land of Israel, and 2 amazing things took place.

1) All Hebrews slaves were set free.
2) All land returned to its original owner or owner's family.

We cannot understand the full impact of this without knowing its historical background. For more than 80 years before the Exodus, the Israelites had been slaves in the land of Egypt, without freedom and without possessions. When they reached the land of Canaan, Joshua divided the land among their tribes and their families, so that each had his own inheritance. Every adult male among them became a land owner. This land was a permanent possession that could never depart from his family. If a man became poor he could sell part or all of his land, but only temporarily. It would always revert to him or his descendants at the year of jubilee. If he became even poorer and was unable to pay his debts, he could sell himself into slavery, and work to pay off his debts. Again that slavery could only ever be temporary. When the great Day of Atonement in the year of jubilee came he became a free man once again and repossessed his inheritance.

Can you imagine the rejoicing? And what’s so cool for us under the New Covenant is that we no longer have to wait for the next 50 year mark in order to claim our inheritance, Amen? God made us His children, ensuring our freedom and inheritance, when we accepted His Son as Lord and Savior.

Still, we can make some interesting comparisons between the OT Israelites and ourselves. First, the literal slavery of some Hebrews—being owned by someone and serving them—is not an issue we can relate to directly. But we are enslaved by sin when we let our guard down. Maybe we’re instead “owned” by debt, depression, pride, or illness.

Further, where the OT property sellers had forsaken family property, we may instead lose our territory or sphere of influence by “selling out” to the world. Maybe we’ve “sold off” bits of our territory by compromising our beliefs or squandering opportunities.

But in both cases God provided redemption and reinstatement as His children. Under the Old Covenant it was through the Year of Jubilee. And Sister, His redemptive power is still at work under the New Covenant…and we don’t even have to wait for a specific year to claim it!

We can have our freedom and rightful inheritance restored through our acceptance of the One perfect sacrifice for the rest of all time—Jesus! When we truly give our lives over to Him, well now—that’s cause for celebration. That’s cause for Jubilation!

God originally ordained the Year of Jubilee so that His chosen people would inherit what was rightfully theirs, even if they’d messed up somewhere along the way. He wants that for you too, Friend. Claim 2008 (and every year hereafter) as your Year of Jubilee.

Father, your redemptive power is so vital for your people that you even built it into the calendar! Thank you! Without that grace, we would all lose our rightful inheritance as your children. Impress upon us, Lord, the importance of setting aside holy time to reclaim what’s ours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If you need to make 2008 your Year of Jubilee, ask the Lord to come into your heart and renew your commitment to Him. Make a New Year’s resolution (starting today is okay!) to daily set apart holy time—time dedicated to growing closer to God through His Word—and ask some friends to hold you accountable.

Power Verses:
Leviticus 25:10, “This year will be set apart as holy, a time to proclaim release for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you returns to the lands that belonged to your ancestors and rejoins your clan.” (NLT)
Exodus 15:17, “You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV)

1 comment:

Bethany L said...

Thanks Kathy for emailing this out! I know I haven't been leaving as many comments lately, but I am still enjoying your thoughts for the week! Thanks so much for writing such inspiring thoughts onto paper/computer!