SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In the first seven verses God declares a Sabbath year of rest for the land of the Israelites. God built the idea of sabbath not only into the rhythm of people's lives, but also of land.
- One reason for not planting new crops once every seven years is because it forced the Israelites to trust God. God addresses this in verses 20-21, saying, "You may ask, 'What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?' I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years."
- Starting in verse 8, God sets in place a "year of jubilee" every forty-nine years for the Israelites. The provisions of this year of jubilee are designed primarily to protect the poor. For instance, people would get back property they had sold in the past, perhaps at a desperate financial time. Another examples comes in verse 36 when God commands people to not charge interest of the poor.
- Interesting fact: Leviticus 25:10 is what is written on the Liberty Bell, and is why the Liberty Bell is so named.
- The provision starting in verse 25 about the nearest relative coming to redeem property plays an important part in the book of Ruth (see Ruth 4:1-4) and, ultimately, in bringing Jesus into the world.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Throughout the Old Testament God forced his people to trust him. He put them in situations or asked them to do things that made them choose whether they'd trust him or not (rather than thinking they trusted him, but never really knowing because they never have to take actions of trust). If we have faith in God we need to truly trust him and live out that trust.
- God cares for the poor and seeks to protect them and provide for them.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Where are you trusting God right now? What are you doing that truly requires an active trust? (For instance, giving God the ten percent of our income he requires forces us to trust him.) If you can't think of a place where your life is requiring trust, maybe you need to create one. What does God ask you to do, or what do you feel led to do, that would require you to get out of your comfort zone and really trust him? Do it!
- Do you care for and seek to provide for the poor? How could you emulate God's heart and start doing this?