Reading in Leviticus 25 this morning. Hovering over the instructions concerning the year of jubilee. Every fifty years a year of reset when everyone was to “return to his property” and “return to his clan” (Lev. 25:10-11).
For forty-nine years the land they possessed could be leveraged as needed in order to provide for their families. Some or all of it could be sold as needed. It could be bought and worked by those who could afford it. At anytime, it could be redeemed by the original owner for an appropriate price calculated against the year of jubilee. But in the year of jubilee, that land was to be returned to its original owner. Everyone was to return to his clan.
And here’s the verse that caused me to pause this morning.
“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is Mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with Me.”
(Leviticus 25:23 ESV)
While the land flowing with milk and honey was a promised land, though God went before them and allowed them to possess the land, yet they were never to consider themselves as permanent owners in the land. The land was to always be seen as God’s land. They were to consider themselves but tenants. “Only foreigners and temporary residents on My land” (CSB).
The land was theirs to possess but not theirs to do with as they pleased. Promised but not to be considered their property. They were never to forget that that parcel on which they lived had been provided by the God for whom they were to live for.
Hmm. We make a pretty big deal about private ownership in our culture. What’s mine is mine. Mine to do with as I please. Mine to profit from if I choose. Mine to protect, even if it requires lethal force. But chewing on this verse I’m thinking of the benefits of a generational reset that reminds the follower of God that what’s his or hers is actually on loan. A regular reminder that, when it comes right down to it, what we may consider to be our possessions are but a reminder that we tenants and stewards. Strangers in the land. Sojourners here but for a short while, “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).
Though I think I may be calling the shots, I really don’t get to make decisions “in perpetuity.” Nothing really permanent. In the larger scheme of eternity, actually pretty fleeting.
For the land, and everything on the earth, is Mine, says the LORD. And you have been graced to travel through it with Me.
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You. For we are strangers before You and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” ~ King Solomon
(1Chronicles 29:14-15 ESV)
“What do you have that you did not receive?” ~ Paul
(1Corinthians 4:7b ESV)
Only a tenant. Thankful for the abundance given of God. Trusting not in what I might like to think I possess, but only in the One who has made provision. A temporary place in this land, a permanent place in a land yet to come.
By His grace. For His glory.