Troublesome Topic: The Year of Jubilee Taught Respect and Priorities

Lesson 10 of 13

Under the major topic of faith, I shared how the Year of Jubilee taught faith and trust. However, the year of Jubilee also instructed the people in the areas of respecting others, and not getting too attached to the things of this world. In the 50th year the Israelite slaves were freed, and the lands returned to their original owners (Lev 25:39-43). The Israelite slaves were also freed every 7 years (Ex 21:2). This meant that no one could accumulate lots of land or a great number of Jewish slaves. Following God’s conditions in this regard kept one’s focus on people, rather than on accumulating the things of this world. There is so much we need to learn in this area.

God says that the land is His (Lev. 25:23).

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David recognized that the earth and everything in it belong to the Lord (Ps 24:1).

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In the book of Acts the disciples had the attitude that everything belongs to God, thus they were willing to demonstrate great generosity (Acts 4:32).

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According to Leviticus chapter 25, they could not acquire land permanently, they could only rent the land until the year of Jubilee came around.

What did this teach? It taught that nothing is truly ours. Everything we think we have is actually on loan to us.

I was refreshed by an elderly lady we once traveled with who, every time she saw cows, would point out the window of the car and say, “Look! my Father’s cows.” This was a sincere and genuine expression of how she thought about everything, all the time.

All my cows are really “my Father’s cows,” and He can do whatever He wants with them. There are times that He allows bad things to happen to our stuff, our pets, our car or house, etc. In those situations, the most important questions are these: “Do I recognize God’s ownership of all my stuff, or do I act as if it belongs to me alone?” “Do I allow God to do whatever He wants with “my” stuff without reacting negatively.” There are times God allows us to make decisions about how to use “our stuff,” but He wants to guide our decision-making process. Here the key question is, “Do we seek God’s will in these matters, and follow His instructions, or do we follow our own fleshly desires?”

In the eyes of God, when one of His people acquired land that was not originally part of his family inheritance, and kept it past the year of Jubilee, it was a statement about the worth of the other person, and the worth of the object. It communicated, “These things I have accumulated are of more value to me than people.” It was saying, “I am the only one that matters, I don’t care what happens to anyone else. They sold their land; how they make it is now their own problem, not mine.” God would not, and does not, tolerate that kind of attitude. His Law was designed to teach His followers to treat things and people with proper respect..

God is a very effective teacher. His teaching style has changed, but the lessons are the same. We must always put people above things!

The next lesson in the full series on Covenants is: Baby Girls Were Just as Valuable as Baby Boys!

The next lesson in the medium series on Covenants is: So How Did This Work?


1: Lev 25:23

"The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is mine; surely you are only newcomers; you are my tenants [that I hire to work the land]."

2: Ps 24:1

"The earth is YHVH’s and all its fullness, the world is his, and those who dwell therein."

3: Acts 4:32

Now since the multitude that had believed was of one heart and one soul, no one claimed anything he possessed to be his own, rather everything was considered by them to be shared.