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Daily Devotional | The Year of Jubilee

According to a recent report, there are only 2,668 billionaires in the world. Together, these individuals have accumulated $12.7 trillion in wealth. And 86 of the people in this exclusive club are under the age of 40! Consider the tremendous wealth held by those 2,668 individuals in comparison to the rest of the world’s 7.837 billion people.

This sharp division between the rich and the poor was not the ideal in ancient Israel. The Jubilee laws were designed to prevent the utter ruin of those who fell into debt. It also prevented individuals within Israel from accumulating large amounts of land perpetually. After every seventh sabbatical year, the year of Jubilee was proclaimed (vv. 8–9). During this year, all land that had been sold was to be returned to its original owner (v. 10). In addition, if any Israelite had to sell themselves into debt-slavery, they were released (vv. 40–41).

Two reasons are given for this legislation. God proclaimed, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine” (v. 23). Returning land to the family that had originally been assigned the property when Israel entered the land would be a way to remind Israel of this truth. Similarly, God proclaimed that slaves could not be kept permanently because “the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt” (v. 55). Every Israeli had an equal status as a redeemed servant of God.

Today’s reading reminds us of God’s heart for the poor. He wanted to ensure that at least once in a person’s life there was a chance for a new start. This legislation also served as a check against unbridled greed.

>> One day all things will be made right. The year of Jubilee gave Israel a foretaste of that day. The Lord Jesus fulfilled aspects of the Jubilee legislation (Luke 4:18–19). He not only cared for the poor but also released them from the debt of sin before God (Luke 7:36–50).

Pray with Us

Our year of Jubilee will be when You return! Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself to us so that we recognize Your face in your Second Coming. You will come in wrath and power, but to us You will be a Savior and a friend!

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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