Justice Week 1 - Checks and Balances - Leviticus 25
Summary: Justice, right relationship, wholeness, and holiness, are the heart of God revealed in Jesus. Every part of our lives, as followers of Jesus should reflect this character of God. This includes our economics. Leviticus 25 reveals God's heart for economic justice.
25 TheLordsaid to Moses at Mount Sinai,2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord.3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.6 Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
The Year of Jubilee
8 “‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family propertyand to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
13 “‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.
14 “‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. 15 You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. 16 When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops. 17 Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.
God's Justice Reflected Economically
- The Sabbath has always been about teaching us to rely on God and to trust in God's abundance.
- In rest we gain perspective about God's faithfulness and remember the goodness we were created for.
- God wove Sabbath into the weekly and yearly routines of his people in order to shape them to live differently.
- The Sabbath year also helped to level the economy and remind all people that they are dependent on the provision of God.
Sabbath Big Idea: God's people must order their lives to reflect God as creator and sustainer
Jubilee - The Big Reset
- The Jubilee was like hitting the reset button on the economy, where ancestral lands were returned, slaves were freed, and debts were cancelled.
- It acted as a natural check on exploitation, greed, poverty and hoarding
- God built redemption and mercy into all the economic systems of his people.
Jubilee Big Idea: If God is sovereign, we must live graciously and generously towards the poor and the powerless
The Big Idea from Leviticus 25: God's justice is always focused on right relationships and reconciliation. God's economy has checks and balances against extravagant wealth and poverty. God's holiness demands that there are always provisions for redemption and mercy.
God's Justice in Today's Economy
- If we don't build Sabbath into our life, we will lose sight of the provision and faithfulness of God.
- God's checks and balances make us healthier, and help us to be a merciful and gracious people
- God's holiness is always reflected economically.
- We should think about what and how much we consume. Is it just? Is it holy?
- We should embody the redemption and mercy of God in how we spend our money and interact with other financially.
- Without generosity there is no justice