God of freedom, You have set my heart free. Let me bring Your freedom to the world.
 “‘Count off seven sabbath years-seven times seven years-so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years.  Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet 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 of you is to return to your family property and to your 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 their own property.  “‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other.  You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops.  When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops.  Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God.
Reflect:What modern actions reflect the heart of Jubilee?
Today’s passage showcases a wonderful, community-wide declaration of liberty. For the Israelites, every fiftieth year would see land returned to original owners, slaves freed, people returning home and a fallow year for the land.
In this way God establishes measures to keep balance in the community of his people. The Jubilee prevented the accumulation of power or possessions to the extent that it damaged others. It ensured that no one was enslaved forever, in debt for a lifetime or inherited poverty.
Jubilee is not solely an Old Testament theme. In Luke 4:18,19 Jesus proclaimed his fulfillment of the familiar text in Isaiah 61 which speaks of the liberation of captives and the year of the Lord’s favor. Today, although the fight against legalized slavery has largely been won, human trafficking, ethical trade and social justice remain prevalent issues in society. But God’s heart has not changed; he is still for freedom–both physical and spiritual. So whether we have little or much (talent, resources, finance, power), we have a responsibility to use what we have for God’s Kingdom and his glory.
God knows how we are made and he knows what is good for us. However, it can be easy to overlook God’s blessings or take them for granted. God ensured that the Israelites received what they needed and also honored him for the grace of his provision.
The weekly Sabbath (3) provided both regular rest and a specific time to honor God in day-to-day life, two things key to their (and our) well-being. God also knows that we can be very quick to forget what he has done for us. So there were specific occasions (4-8) for the Israelites to celebrate and reflect on the history of God’s goodness and provision in their past. This ensured that they did not forget the incredible miracles and deliverance God had given to them, and it renewed their faith for the future.
Of course, God’s goodness and provision is not simply historical, but is ongoing in daily life and work. So an annual feast day celebrating each year’s harvest (9-14) ensured that the people could regularly give the best of themselves and the first of all God had given to them.
Consider the ways in which you can implement the Jubilee principles of justice, peace, compassion and help for the poor.
Righteous and loving God, open my eyes to the enslaved and to my part in bringing freedom.