Law of the Sabbath Year
Verses 1-7 – The Sabbath year provided one entire year that the land would lay fallow (UN-plowed). This was good management of natural resources and reminded the people all year-long that God would provide for them.
Law of the Year of Jubilee
Verses 8-17 – The year of Jubilee was to be celebrated every 50 years. All debts were cleared; slaves were freed; and land was returned to original owners in this 50th year. There is no indication in the Bible that the Year of Jubilee was ever carried out. If Israel had followed this practice faithfully, they would have been a society without permanent poverty.
Verses 20, 21 – Look what God said He would do if they gave the land a rest every 7 years and kept the 50th year for a celebration; in the sixth year, He would command a blessing and they would produce enough to feed them and their families for 3 years. Our God is a more than enough God. The provision He provides is always more than enough. But we have to believe that He’s a more than enough God in order to receive it. They were not to eat of the 8th year crop when they started planting again because God had given them enough until a full crop came in.
Verse 23 – None of the land of Canaan could be sold on a permanent base. God owned it all. God didn’t want the Israelite’s to get an attitude of greed and materialism. If we keep an attitude of stewardship over what we have, we will be more likely to share what God has given us. This can be difficult to do when we have an attitude of “this is mine.”
Verse 25 – This law was applied when Ruth was redeemed by Boaz after her closest family redeemer refused to marry her.
Verses 32-34 – Even though the Levite priests were not allotted permanent property in the Promised Land; they were provided permanent residence and pastureland.
Verses 35-38 – God placed great emphasis on assisting the poor. God also stated that neglecting the poor was a sin. Financially secure families were responsible to help those who fell into poverty. They were told they could not profit from charging interest on any loans either. The society we live in today is so far from the way God intended things to be set up. First, if you have very little and do possibly get a loan, you pay twice the interest rate that someone who has, pays. Second, if you’re so called score is not high enough you won’t even get the loan. Those that have, are catered to and those who have not, are ignored. As believers in “Christ, we can not ignore those who are less fortunate.
Verses 39-55 – God provided for the poor who had to sell themselves and become slaves. However, slavery was only to be a temporary condition. The law prohibited harsh treatment.