Everybody comes to resolution time on January 1, and according to polls recently taken, the same basic resolutions remain the most popular: exercise, eat better, lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, be happier – et cetera. I guess this goes to show that we struggle in certain areas on a regular basis. But I came across a passage in the Old Testament that I believe can supply an alternative to the typical resolutions we all make.
In Leviticus 25 you can read about the “Sabbath year” and the year of Jubilee. The Sabbath year was the 7th year in which the Israelites were to allow the field to rest without sowing it. God promised that if they kept this covenant that he would provide more than enough sustenance from the active years of harvest to take care of His people. So every seventh year the Jews would let their fields lie fallow.
Connected to the Sabbath year there was officially a year of celebration. The year following seven consecutive Sabbath years, the 50th year, was called the year of Jubilee. There were laws from God for Jubilee that were far reaching into both the private and social realms of God’s people. But within this celebration there were 3 primary things the Jews were commanded to do:
1. Proclaim release for all the inhabitants of the land.
2. Each person was to return to his holding and his family.
3. There was to be no sowing or reaping of anything That grew on its own.
Consider the practical and underlying truths behind these principle ideas God was declaring to His people. These apply to the 3 things we should keep in mind as we approach 2019 and really every day we live here on earth.
First, because the land belongs to the God who created it, we must all be viewed as equal residents. In reality we are only strangers and pilgrims here on earth. God said, “The land is Mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with Me” (Lev. 25:23). In other words we are to be reminded that this world is only a temporary habitation for the children of God.
Second, the Israelites were viewed by God to be His servants, therefore no person could be the property of any human owner. Again God said, “For the children of Israel are servants to Me…whom I brought out of the land of Egypt…” (Lev. 25:55). To have indentured servants was a human practice that God allowed in the social culture of Israel, but He clearly commanded the freedom of all peoples and the release of all servants in the year of Jubilee. The point is simple. Our individual lives belong only to God. Nobody can own anyone else.
Third, the first two rules imply another obvious truth. We only have what we have because God has allotted it to us by portion. Each of us can do all we can to make that portion maximize its potential. In the meantime there will always be that which God causes to grow of its own accord, because He is the only true giver and keeper of life. (continued on page 3)
So in a practical way, what does this all mean? What are the 3 things we can do to make 2019 better?
We can forgive. Release every person you have bound to a prior offense and set them free. Give the people in your life a fresh start in 2019. “Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 25:17).
We can return to our heritage. Go home in your spirit to the faith of your fathers. Remember who you are. Follow the groundwork that was laid for you by your family if your family has a history in the Lord.
We can trust God. God still makes the wild things grow. We don’t know what our future holds. We simply need to remember that the one who made us is the one who has an eternal plan for us through His Son. If we will keep our hope and trust in God then we will be able to look back at this same time next year and see that God has been in it, and we will be blessed.
“And this we will do if God permits.” – Hebrews 6:3