The Year of Jubilee
In the Old Testament we see the heart of God toward the poor and disadvantaged, and His desire to see His people trust Him for His provision. Leviticus chapter 25 contains the instructions for a practice called “Jubilee”. Every 50th year, the land was to be given back to the original owner of the land. So, if you found yourself having to sell your land to pay a debt, you knew that on that Jubilee year, your land would revert back to you or your descendants. It was a sort of giant “reset” that kept people from losing their livelihood and also prevented others from hoarding and acquiring land beyond what they needed. It was sort of a “tempered” capitalism. It rewarded hard work and individualism to an extent, yet providing a safety net for families who, for whatever reason, needed to sell their land.
I think that God knew that men would seek to take advantage of others, capitalizing on their bad times and hardship. Unfortunately that same thing happens today but we don’t have a “jubilee” year to fix everything again. It is a very interesting idea and one that, unfortunately, we don’t have any biblical record of the Israelite people ever practicing. It appears that they rejected God’s word on the idea of Jubilee and likely this is just one of the reasons why they ended up being removed from their promised land. In fact, we are told later in the Old Testament that the length of their captivity in Babylon was directly related to the number of times they failed to keep the Jubilee. Interesting isn’t it? Is there someone whom you could bless today by providing for them in some way. Sure, it will cost you, but in doing something for others you might also experience “jubilation”!