The Year of Jubilee is seriously the coolest. I love getting to them in the books of the Law after all those sacrificing and bodily fluid talks.
Sabbatical years are awesome, in and of themselves. No sowing, no pruning, no reaping or trimming, only enough produce gathered to feed your household and animals. The LORD wants the land and His people to rest. What’s more (which you can read about in Deuteronomy 15), debts are released. All loans have expiration dates, and there is no exacting interest. People who have sold themselves are to be set free; and not sent away empty handed. Just imagine if America was actually a Christian nation, implementing these economic systems!
Then, after seven-seven-year cycles, on year fifty, an extra beautiful thing happens: Everything is reset. It is a literal “coming home” for both families to their originally allotted land, and family members who have left to hire themselves out to more successful families.
One thing I think we profoundly miss by not observing the Sabbatical years and Jubilee, is just how Holy and Important it is to let things go. To release grudges. To set each other free from debts. To return to the gifts of the LORD, because we recognize that it’s all from Him to begin with.
“The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” (25:23)
This book closes out similarly to Deuteronomy: with blessings and curses corresponding to obedience or disobedience. There are both spiritual and physical reasons for these blessings and curses. The Creator God has wisely set an order to things, and we would do well to pay attention.
If you’re also observing an agricultural theme, it’s because many of the Canaan, pagan gods were supposedly tied to granting rain and bringing forth successful crops. The LORD wants Israel to always recognize that He is the one in actual charge of the rain.
Side note, which I believe I’ve mentioned on here before: most predominate pagan gods are linked to either agriculture or fertility, by no coincidence. Think if the curses in the garden about toil in farming and difficulty with child birth. Idols will always be the false way to address these areas of life in which we depend on the LORD. The enemy wants us to mistrust Him and be mad at Him for these curses, but it’s because he’s a hateful liar, not because he offers a real solution.
If we think the LORD is being a little harsh about idolatry, it’s for good reason.
Halfway through the curses, the LORD starts foretelling what will happen in Israel’s future. They will choose disobedience, they will suffer the consequences and be sent into exile (26:33)
Bringing it full circle:
“Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy it’s sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths while you were living in it.” (26:34-35)
This absolutely happened.
“Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of the desolation it kept sabbath until the seventy years were complete.” (2 Chronicles 36:20-21)
Demonstrating how sometimes when we don’t let things go, they get painfully batted out of our hands anyway.
What do you need to let go of? What do you need to rest? How will you know? That thing will be worn out, because you’ve been trusting it instead of the LORD.