Most of us are familiar with the concept of the sabbath. In Genesis 2:3 God ceases creating and blesses the seventh day, setting it aside as a day of rest for all people.
Many of us might not be as familiar with Leviticus, a biblical book that carries the concept of sabbath a bit further. The writer of Leviticus describes a sabbath for the land that is to take place every seven years, as well as a jubilee year occurring at the conclusion of 49 years. The sabbath laws are expansive and inclusive. Sabbath is not just for observant men (and women) but also for servants, foreigners, and even animals.
The jubilee year command for people to return the land to its previous owners makes more sense knowing that, originally, the land was equitably distributed. While misfortune and bad choices may have led to loss, jubilee offers people a chance to start anew. Jubilee means liberty from debt and a return to community.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “Crafted in Christ” by Katie Hines-Shah in the May/June 2022 Gather magazine.
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