The year of Jubilee!
Scripture reading for February 10: Leviticus 24-27
In our culture, Golden anniversaries are special. When a couple has been together 50 years there is always a celebration! God also uses the 50th year as a special year, calling it the year of Jubilee! It was a year of freedom and restoration for all of God’s people. On the 50th year, debts were to be forgiven and property that was taken or bought from the original owner was restored. On this year, no one was to work the land. The land would be left to rest and whatever grew without any human effort was to be used for food for the people. It was a blessed time that the people looked forward to. It pictured the reign of Messiah, when he would come and restore the fortunes and possessions of his people and vanquish their enemies.
The Jubilee was the culmination of 7 periods of 7 years. After 6 years, the Israelites were to rest their land for a year. God promised to provide enough for them in the 6th year to carry them through until the harvest of the 8th year. There were to be 7 cycles of 7 years and following the 49th year, on the Day of Atonement, the priests were to sound the trumpet and announce the beginning of the Year of Jubilee! (Leviticus 25:8-10) What a joyous occasion! God giving us a picture of his amazing restoration and rule of grace!
The problem was that the Israelites never took the Sabbath years every 7th year and they never did have a Year of Jubilee. They knew about it because of Leviticus but failed to do what God asked. When we fail to obey, God always has His way. The Israelites went for 7o years of captivity in Babylon so that the land where they had lived and neglected God’s command could have it’s rest! (2nd Chronicles 36:20-21)
In the New Testament we find the Jubilee in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verses 18-19. Jesus announced his calling and ministry by reading from Isaiah 61:1-2. The proclamation of the “year of the Lord’s favor” was a reference to “Jubilee”! Jesus is our Jubilee! In Him, we have restoration and a return of our stolen property. God wants us to find our food, fulfillment, and blessing from His grace, not our own efforts! Jubilee is a picture of Jesus’ provision for every person who trusts in Him by faith!