The Torah parsha this past week from Leviticus 25 is all about the Jubilee year:
"Count off seven sabbaths of years - seven times seven years - so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the shofar sounded everywhere on the 10th day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the shofar throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property."
The LORD offers specific principles in this chapter that show what I am calling His "Jubilee Heart." We are told that a Jubilee year is a time of setting free all servants and cancelling all debts. It is a time of liberty from all bondage. It is a time of returning to one's own clan. It is a time of redemption: land is redeemed and returned to its original families, servants are redeemed and free to return also to their families. Do you hear God's heart? RESTORATION. REUNIFICATION. LIBERTY!
It is also a faith test. If the Israelites were not allowed to plant in a Jubilee year (even as they were commanded every 7 years in a Sabbatical year), what would they eat? How would they earn income? How would they survive? YHVH answers them clearly in Leviticus 25:20-22: "You may ask, 'What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest crops?' I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in."
History of Ancient Israel shows that the people did not faithfully keep these commands. They displayed an alarming lack of faith that YHVH really would give them a three-year blessing of harvest in the sixth year. In fact, in modern-day Israel during the last sabbatical year, I read that many Israeli farmers hired Arab workers to plant the fields for them so they wouldn't be doing the work, but would still produce the crops and receive the income!
Such a lack of trust we humans exhibit when it comes right down to our livelihoods and wellbeing. YHVH provided a double portion of manna every single Friday for the Israelites so they did not have to gather on Shabbats! His provision never failed, and they always had enough. Why do we not believe that He will do it again, and still feel that we have to rely always on our own strength and power?
Yeshua went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and as we are told in Luke 4:16-21: "...on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue as was His custom. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the LORD is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
What is this "year of the Lord's favor" of which Yeshua spoke? I think it is not so much a "what" but a "who"! Of course He is referring to a Jubilee Year. As we see from the Scriptures above, the Jubilee Year does indeed represent freedom, release, and redemption. But the passages in Luke go on to say, "Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
The Scripture was fulfilled in their hearing because YESHUA IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE JUBILEE YEAR! HE is freedom. HE is redemption. HE is recovery of sight. HE is the Restorer of families. HE owns the Deed to the Land. HE is the good news! And all eyes in the synagogue were fastened on Him. Perhaps this has been the problem: the eyes of God's people have not been fastened on Yeshua. Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Yeshua, author and perfecter of our faith..."
In the days ahead, will you trust Him when there are no crops in the field or no dollars in the bank? Let us purpose to keep our eyes fixed on the One who is our Jubilee. He is in the process of restoring families, opening blind eyes, and setting captives free. He will keep His Word. He has a Jubilee Heart!
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