God’s principles through Moses
Today’s readings in Leviticus 25 are the words of the Lord about how the nation is to function when they settle into the Promised Land.
First there are laws to see that they treat the land properly so that the soil continues to yield its increase. They were work the land for six years “but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 25:4). This policy of ploughing a field for six years and letting it rest on the seventh made good sense. The soil could rejuvenate. It is only in recent generations that farmers have been able to use lots of extra chemical fertilisers to increase land productivity. But at the same time they have made mistakes, and in trying to make the land too productive, some have ruined it.
The chapter goes on to tell us that after seven cycles or seven, making forty-nine years, the fiftieth year was to be a Jubilee Year, a very special year when “each of you shall return to his property” (Leviticus 25:13). God said, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity for the land is mine” (Leviticus 25:23).
When they arrive in the promised land, as we will read in May, the land will be divided by Joshua into territories for each tribe. Each of these territories are then divided again into the ownership of families within the tribe, and then again to heads of households and individuals. If land was sold because of some urgent need, this was only until the next Jubilee Year. We read of various laws designed to help those who became poor. It is summed up in verse 46 “you shall not rule over one another ruthlessly” (Leviticus 25:46).
The law was very good, but the people often were not, and did not put it into practice very well.
God’s messages through the prophets often address this failure. In Isaiah we read, “Woe to those who join house to house and add field to field” (Isaiah 5:8). The whole spirit of capitalism as practiced in much of the world now is wrong; it cultivates a spirit of greed in building up more and more wealth. But God’s principle for Israel was, “the land is mine” they were the tenants to whom he had let it out. Surely the same will apply in the kingdom of God. When, new week we come to Luke 18, take special note of Luke 18:25.