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Leviticus 25


Book of Leviticus Chapter Twenty-Five
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

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Chapter 24 was an introduction to "light," God's enlightenment of those who become willing to trust in the Lord. The revelations continue in this chapter. Verses 1-5: "The Lord then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, 2 'Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the Lord. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, 4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.'" Notice the certainty of God's intention for Israel—it was not "if" but WHEN they would come into the land of promise. And they would be expected to NOT gather their harvests one year out of every seven, trusting the Lord in all that was important to them.

Food was not to be denied—profit was the issue. Would they, will WE trust the Lord, even when the harvest can't be sold and our income might diminish? Verses 6-7: "All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. 7 Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat." Has something troubling been denied and you don't understand? And have you noticed that you have kept on living, having just enough, in spite of your loss? What "sabbath" has been declared in YOUR life?

Verses 8-10: "You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. 9 You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. 10 You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family." The commands we will see in this chapter were unprecedented, then and now. We've all lost loved ones, money, property and more, and on earth typically they're never seen again. But here, property, a home lost, was to be found in the year of jubilee.

As you read further, try to imagine eternity, which is a jubilee for the faithful. As intimated in this chapter, holiness will fill everywhere and everyone. More than ample provision will be ours without effort, justice will prevail, our inheritance will be everlasting, and we will know freedom like never before. Verses 11-12: "You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field." If we work in eternity, it will be without effort, filled with purity, and we will never have to wonder about where the next meal will be coming from, if "eating" is even needed. You will be HOME like never before, as in Verse 13: "On this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own property."

Honesty and truth are lacking here on earth, but not in the time of eternal jubilee. All will be fair and just, as in Verses 14-17: "If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend or buy from your friend’s hand, you shall not wrong one another. 15 Corresponding to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your friend; he is to sell to you according to the number of years of crops. 16 In proportion to the extent of the years you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the fewness of the years you shall diminish its price, for it is a number of crops he is selling to you. 17 So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God." God intended fairness and equity for Israel and it is also the eternal outcome for all who trust in the Lord.—He has your needs in mind.

Verses 18-19: "You shall thus observe My statutes and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that you may live securely on the land. 19 Then the land will yield its produce, so that you can eat your fill and live securely on it." The Lord has a will, a purpose for your life. When you avoid His plan, He may communicate His concern through circumstances such as job loss, hospitalization or other problems. Not all success and failures in life have that cause, so when you wonder WHY something is happening, ask Him, for He does have the answer.

Verses 20-22: "But if you say, 'What are we going to eat on the seventh year if we do not sow or gather in our crops?' 21 then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years. 22 When you are sowing the eighth year, you can still eat old things from the crop, eating the old until the ninth year when its crop comes in." Those who say yes to the Lord's call into something like the work of a missionary are making a vow of poverty. It's important that it is actually His call and not merely a career change, and if it is a response to His call, He has provision for your needs, even when you don't personally earn the income received.

Verses 23-28: "The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. 25 If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. 26 Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, 27 then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property. 28 But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property." Israel is a very real place and people, and a lot of delighted people did get their properties back through the centuries, but this is also a parable of all those who have faith in the Lord, as seen in Philippians 3:20—"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Through faith in the Lord, we have obtained an eternal inheritance in the place we have not yet seen: "heaven." Sometimes we can feel lost, but we are not, as we await the Lord's jubilee.

Isn't it interesting, in Verses 29-30, that an urban apartment or co-op has a lesser place in the Lord's estimation. Yes, there is a right of redemption, but only for a year: "Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year. 30 But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee." The reality is that, in eternity, we will all have the equivalent of a landed estate, a permanent possession that can never be taken away. A country setting can be more peaceful than a city, reflected in Verse 31: "The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee." God intends a permanent inheritance for you—now and always.

The tribe of Levi had no inheritance within the nation. They were the priests of Israel, who served God instead of harvesting crops or shepherding flocks. Ordinary city dwellers did not have a permanent possession of their houses, but the Levitical priests did, as seen in Verses 32-34: "As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession. 33 What, therefore, belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale in the city of this possession reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel. 34 But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession." Those who give their lives in service to God will be provided for by God Himself, both now and forever.

Leviticus 19:18 taught us, "love your neighbor as yourself." How does that work? How do we do it? Verses 35-38: "Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37 You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God." Do you want to be fairly treated? Then courageously show your love by helping others in need, treating them honorably and fairly at all times. The reality is that God does help those who help others.

Slavery has been one of the most common practices in human history, and members of almost all tribes and nations have been both slaves and slave owners at various times. God did not forbid the practice here, but He certainly is against anyone who mistreats others. Verses 39-43: "If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 42 For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43 You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God." In any position of authority you might find yourself, treat others well. Lead, but be kind to subordinates. To do otherwise is to show that you don't revere God.

Almost everyone objects to slavery. The idea of being enslaved is abhorrent, but we are to remember that this is also a parable. We are all slaves to sin and without hope, except that God has provided a Redeemer who has paid the price to rescue anyone willing to trust in Him. Verses 44-46: "As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. 45 Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46 You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another." These verses on slavery are difficult to read, but keep in mind, particularly as to the non-Israelites mentioned here, that God had declared a sentence of death upon the Canaanite tribes Israel would dispossess. Slavery, though abhorrent, was an offer of life to those sentenced to death. And perhaps they would find faith by living in a nation that was intended to be based on faith in the Lord.

The right of redemption is seen in Verses 47-52: "Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family, 48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself. 50 He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him. 51 If there are still many years, he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption; 52 and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption." To be redeemed is to be bought back from some predicament we have fallen into and cannot escape by ourselves. It's important to return to the earliest chapters of Genesis and note that ALL of us have been sentenced to death. We are slaves to sin and cannot save ourselves, which is why all need the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who offered redemption to humanity by dying in our place.

Verses 53-55 specifically pertain to the sons of Israel: "Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight. 54 Even if he is not redeemed by these means, he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him. 55 For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." They would be delivered from slavery in the year of jubilee. But whether you are of Israel or not, you need what we all have need of: a Kinsman Redeemer who will save us from more than physical bondage. We are to be saved from the sin nature that has bound humanity since the time of our earliest ancestors. We need the Lord, who saves us from death, from sin, from ourselves. Because of Him, those who trust in Him and what He has done will have a jubilee. Yes it is future, but it is also now through faith in the living Lord.

Father, I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, Lord and Redeemer. I confess my sins, freely giving them to the One who died for me. I am His, I am Yours. Please forgive me, save me and heal my aching soul. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
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"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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