Leviticus 25:1-19 (NRSV)The jubilee celebration
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath -- you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound laborers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.
You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month -- on the day of atonement -- you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.
In this year of jubilee you shall return, every one of you, to your property. When you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not cheat one another. When you buy from your neighbor, you shall pay only for the number of years since the jubilee; the seller shall charge you only for the remaining crop years. If the years are more, you shall increase the price, and if the years are fewer, you shall diminish the price; for it is a certain number of harvests that are being sold to you. You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.
You shall observe my statutes and faithfully keep my ordinances, so that you may live on the land securely. The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live on it securely.
I've been meditating a lot on the concept of Sabbath rest lately. Over and over in scripture God calls God's people to set aside one day in every week, one year in every seven, and one year in every fifty for a time of jubilee!
Isn't this a wonderful idea from a loving God? And isn't it sad that we don't observe God's commandment to rest?
God loves us enough to know that if left to our own devices our greed, lust, and ignorance would causes us to work 2/7/365 until we had a heart attack, stroke, or major depression. God knew the word "workaholic" before it was coined in the human lexicon.
That is why God says there are times when we need to rest, and not just us, but everyone and everything that works for us--employees, animals, and land.
As we rest, we are called to commune with God, confessing our sin, correcting wrong against our neighbors, and receiving God's forgiveness.
It is my prayer that although our culture does not encourage us to rest, as Christians we will observe this commandment for our own good. One hour, day, week, and/or year set aside regularly to be with God will do wonders for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, as well our relationship with God.
Won't you "pen" God into your calendar today?
Let us pray:
Good and gracious God, thank you for the call to rest. Please forgive me for working myself into the ground and leaving no time for relationship and conversation with you. Please help me to do better. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaL