Leviticus 25 talks about ownership and the Sabbath. God gives rules on how landowners are to treat their land – “in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land….It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land….shall provide food for you….all its yield shall be for food….in it you shall neither sow nor reap….It shall be holy to you”. In those days the land was given a one year reprieve from production every seven. This was to allow the land to replenish itself so it did not run out of nutrients and could produce the other six years. In today’s farming, those nutrients are replenished yearly through the application of fertilizer. But there may be other areas that the Sabbath for land did which are missed today.
The chapter continues by talking about the ownership of land. God demands that we live appropriately with each other. We must treat each other fairly. “You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the Lord your God….you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely”. God has expectations for how we should treat each other. Part of the reality that people were addressing in this time was how they could live if they fallowed their land one year every seven. What will they eat? “I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years”. God has that figured out too. It is a matter of trust.
Do you trust God enough to let your land sit idle and expect Him to provide? If He asked you to quit your job and trust Him, would you? He also set forth rules on ownership. “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine”. That wouldn’t play all that well today either, would it? The reality is that it remains the case – God not only owns all the land, but all the cattle and every other thing on a thousand hills. It is all His. We need to get that in perspective. We work to create wealth and come under the illusion that we have things that are ours – but it is just that – an illusion. God owns it all and entrusts it to us as His stewards but we never own it. He made that very clear to the people in this chapter through the year of jubilee – when land was all returned to the original owner every 50 years. “In the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property”. It wasn’t optional – it was the law.
We also learn that God expects us to care for our family. “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you….If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave”. This is God’s plan for us – to care for one another. We are to support and not take advantage of each other. And we are to remember again that God is truly the One to whom we answer. “For it is to me that the people of Israel are servants”. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He alone is God!