- Sermon Notes
The Promise of Jubilee
Israel is unique.God called them out of the nations to be distinct, to be different.God brought them out of Egypt from all the trouble and trials of their lives to be a Father to them; to be their God.They were therefore not to live as the people in Egypt from where they came; nor were they to live as the people in Canaan where they were going.
God gave them statutes and laws to show them how to live differently than the world.If they would honor Him as God, He would bless their nation and their land and each person who honored God in their hearts would be blessed.
God has also called us out of the world, to be distinct, to be different, to be a people of His own possession.We are not to live as the world lives; we are in the kingdom of God now and a whole different set of principles apply.If we will honor God in our lives and in our hearts, He will pour out His Spirit and His life on us as well.
In Chapter 25, He describes the Sabbath year which they were to observe every seven years.In the Sabbath year, they were to give their land a rest. They could not sow or reap or prune their vineyards.Anything that grew on its own was free to anyone and everyone.
Giving the land a Sabbath rest would make their land much more productive.It was also a demonstration of their faith. When they took God at His Word and trusted that He would bless them if they lived in agreement with God’s word, they would see abundance and prosperity and would live securely in the land.
Farming methods today include rotating crops to give the land rest.If the land does not rest, it becomes depleted of nutrients and no longer becomes productive.
In the verses we’re studying today, God instructs them to have an additional Sabbath year, called the Year of Jubilee.It was to be remembered every fiftieth year.In the year of Jubilee, not only would the land have an additional year of rest, each family would return to the property they originally owned, and any Israelite slaves must be given liberty and set free.
There are many applications for us in these verses because these are prophetic of the ministry of Jesus Christ in our lives.
I. God Wants You to be Free
- The year of Jubilee was unique among the nations.
- But it required faith; it required trust that God would do what God said He would do if they forgave debts, set free those in servitude, and gave everyone who needed it a new beginning.
- Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Israel ever took God at His Word and honored these verses, thus missing the opportunity to revere and sanctify God by keeping the year of Jubilee.
A. Jubilee is for releasing
- Vs 10 – there was to be a release to every inhabitant in the land. In other words, if a Hebrew became so poor that he sold himself as a slave, he was to be released in the year of jubilee, receive back his original land and be allowed to start over; to have a fresh start.
Leviticus 25:39-41…Serve only until the year of Jubilee
- Verse 10 literally says, “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land.” Those words might ring a bell.
- That exact phrase, “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land,” is engraved on the Liberty Bell which rang out over Independence Hall in the city of Philadelphia on July 8, 1776 to summon citizens to hear the first reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
- God wanted captives set free by the releasing of their debt.It was an opportunity to start over.
- There were two sides to this aspect of the year of jubilee.For those in bondage and in debt, jubilee was indeed liberty and freedom.
- But there were others who must forgive the debts and set the captives free.
App – There are two applications for us as well.In Christ our debts are forgiven, and we are set free.
But we need to be willing to forgive those who have trespassed against us.As we have been forgiven, should we not also forgive?
Ephesians 4:32, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Matthew 18:21 -22, Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?Up to seven times?”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
App – When you forgive others it sets you free, because bitterness and hurt can keep you in bondage as well.
Illus – When I was a student at Multnomah, a professor embarrassed me; and I was the one carrying a burden…then God set me free…
B. Jubilee is for resting
- Vs 11 – In the year of jubilee, the land was to have an additional year to rest, but the people were also to rest and do no work that year.
Illus – Today, many companies provide a sabbatical for their employees.They’re not usually for a whole year, but the idea is like the year of Jubilee and the Sabbath year.Employees perform better and have better attitudes if they rest.
- Without rest you can become completely worn down.There is difficulty that comes from a lack of physical rest, but there is a much heavier burden when the soul has no rest.
- It takes faith to rest in God.You must trust in God rather than in yourself.
Hebrews 4:1-2, Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
- Rest comes when you truly believe that God is the strength of your life.
Psalm 46:9-11, He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”
C. Jubilee is for restoring
- Vs 13-16 The Year of Jubilee was also to be a year of restoring the land to those who it belonged to originally.
- When Israel enters the land God promised them, each family will be given a portion as a perpetual inheritance of the Lord.
- If, for any reason, that land was sold, it would revert back to the original family in the year of Jubilee.
- In other words, the land could never actually be sold.The land could be leased for up to 50 years and the price would be determined by how many years remained until the year of jubilee.
- The reason for this is given later in the chapter where God says that the land belongs to him.But he also says something else amazing…
Leviticus 25:23, “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”
- In other words, this land is not the end and this earth is not the end, we’re only passing through. Don’t wrap yourselves up in material things of this world and in accumulating as much as you can for yourself. You are sojourning with God. He is your life and your future.
- It’s about the journey and your journey is with Him.
- This provision was also an opportunity for those who sold their land because of poverty to start over, to be restored, to have what was lost be returned and get a fresh start.
Illus – If someone’s parents sold the land because of poverty, then the children would have the opportunity to be restored; to start over.
- In the same way, God restores what is lost when in your sinful state you lose so much spiritually.
- What does sin cost? Relationships are broken, lives are destroyed, souls are sickened…
- But in Christ Jesus there is a restoring…
Joel 2:25-26, So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.
Illus –God wants to rebuild your life; but this time He’ll rebuild it on a better foundation.
II.Jesus is Our Jubilee
- Leviticus 25 was never fulfilled by the Jews. They never honored this instruction.
- But God fulfilled the year of Jubilee in Christ Jesus. It was prophetic of Christ; He is the great fulfillment of it.
A. Jubilee begins on the Day of Atonement
- Verse 9 – on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement was the day they were to proclaim liberty throughout the land.
- The Day of Atonement is the day which speaks of the crucifixion of Christ, the day when your sins were forgiven. That is the day of liberty.
- When Jesus began his public ministry, he began by reading from Isaiah 61:1-2…
Luke 4:16-19, He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set free those who are oppressed; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
- It is Christ who gives beauty for ashes and the oil of gladness instead of mourning.
John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
- The Year of Jubilee came once every 50 years. In Christ, however, the jubilee of the Lord is every day.
B. Our sufficiency is in Him
- Jesus is our Jubilee.In Him our debts are paid in full, captives are set free.He restores what the locusts have eaten and by resting in Him, He is our strength.
Illus - This weekend we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.Shortly after that historic moment, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin paused to recognize the hand of God and to give thanks by taking communion…
Isaiah 61:3-4, The Lord has anointed Me… to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
- God wants to set things right in your life also.
Leviticus 25:8-19 NASB