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Times for Renewal

Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 0:01
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Times for Renewal

God’s Law calls us to observe seasons of renewal.

Leviticus 25:8-22

“You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field.

“In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property. And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops. If the years are many, you shall increase the price, and if the years are few, you shall reduce the price, for it is the number of the crops that he is selling to you. You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the LORD your God.

“Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely. The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and dwell in it securely. And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years. When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating some of the old crop; you shall eat the old until the ninth year, when its crop arrives.”

A whole year without working! What would that be like? In the year of Jubilee Israel was to celebrate the goodness of God and renew their covenant with Him by returning to their patriarchal lands, resting from working the soil, and treating the year as a holy Sabbath year to the Lord. The idea of a periodic renewal of our covenant relationship with God is a good one, I think. I don’t believe God intends for us to try to follow the specific economic practices He assigned to Israel in our day, but whatever principles there may be in these statutes—such as setting aside holy times for the Lord, keeping debt to a minimum, and not accumulating excessive wealth—are certainly worth reflecting on for how they might apply to us.

Notice the twin incentives for observing the year of release—the Jubilee: fear of God and love for neighbor. We may not always find aspects of God’s Law easy to understand or even agreeable. But fear of God should keep us seeking the best ways to fulfill them in our day. Love for our neighbor is hard to sustain without some meaningful guidelines. God provides these in His Law. The better we know the Law and the more consistent we are in keeping it, the more we will know the fear of God and show love to our neighbor.

Order a copy of The Law of God from our online store and begin daily reading in the commandments, statutes, testimonies, precepts, and rules of God, which are the cornerstone of divine revelation. Sign up at our website to receive our thrice-weekly devotional, Crosfigell, written by T. M. Moore.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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