Daily Readings and Thought for March 17th. “FOR THE LAND IS MINE”


Today’s readings in Leviticus 25 contains instructions from the LORD as to how the nation was to function when they settled in the promised land. Laws were given to ensure they treated the land properly so that the soil continued to yield good  crops. They were to work the land for 6 years “but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD” [v,4]  This policy of ploughing a field for 6 years and letting it rest on the seventh made good sense.  The soil could rejuvenate. The word Sabbath means “rest.”

It is only in recent generations that farmers have been able to use lots of extra chemical fertilisers to increase land productivity: but they have sometimes made mistakes, and in trying to make the land too productive, some have ruined it. The chapter goes on to tell us that after 7 cycles of 7, making 49 years, the 50th year was to be a Jubilee Year, a very special year when “each of you shall return to his property” [v.13].  God said, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity for the land is mine.” [v.23]  

When they arrive in the promised land, as we will read in May, the land was divided by Joshua into territories for each tribe.  Each of these territories would then be divided again into the ownership of families within the tribe, and then again to heads of households.  If land was sold by an owner who became poor or had some urgent need, this would be only until the next Jubilee Year.   

    We read of various laws designed to help those who became poor.  It is summed up in v.46  “you shall not rule over one another ruthlessly” [v.46]  The law was very good, but the people frequently did not put it into practice very well.  God’s messages through the prophets sometimes address this failure.  In Isaiah we read, “Woe to those who join house to house and add field to field” [5 v.8]  

The whole spirit of capitalism as practiced in much of the world today is fundamentally unhealthy because it cultivates a spirit of greed in building up greater and greater possessions, disadvantaging others..  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, it is a principle all believers should bear in mind, for not only is the land God’s, those who take on the name of Christ must realize they are too!  Paul wrote,  “You are not our own, for you were bought with a price….your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God” [1 Cor. 6 v.19, 20]  Which reminds us of our thoughts yesterday.  

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