God is watchful over the property HE gives to Israel. It doesn’t “belong” to them but to Him. And He has rules regarding its sale.
We touched on this the last time we were together when we discussed the year of Jubilee. We saw that the property sold between Jubilee years reverted back to the original owner at the next occurrence. This change of hands was free of charge for the original “owners.”
I was thinking about how it would feel if I were the one living in the “borrowed” property when the Jubilee came. Jubilee only happened every 50 years. I wonder how many Jubilee years the average person saw. Moses lived to be 120 years old. Jubilee counting didn’t happen in his lifetime because it was for after they got to the Promised Land. But how many times would an average Israelite have to pick up stakes and move out of a house they had occupied for most of their life because of Jubilee?
Property in the countrysides never really passed out of the family. Even if the property was sold, when Jubilee came the property reverted back to the original “land owner.” I wonder if this also included the “owner’s” family. Did the link break if the original owner died? Did the land return to the descendants? Did it revert back to the tribe the man came from if he had no descendants? Did it go to his relatives?
Wherever it reverted back to, the people who had been inhabiting and using it in the meantime had to surrender it. How would I feel if I knew that I would have to relinquish the home I had raised my children in? “Don’t get too attached to this place children because it doesn’t really belong to us.” But if they had to surrender their habitation those who might have been living in homes that would belong to the displaced could be displaced too. Talk about a shuffle! I wonder what that looked like.
On another note, those who sold houses in the walled cities didn’t get that perpetual right. When they sold their house they had ONE YEAR to redeem it. After that time they lost all rights to it. And if they did redeem it they had to pay the person who bought it. They didn’t get it back for free like what happened in the Jubilee year. The new family might have to pick up stakes and move again but at least they had the money to do so. They could buy another house.
I wonder if the year of Jubilee built excitement or dread. I imagine excitement for the family who lost their land because of circumstances beyond their control. Crops failed too many years in a row or medical debts bankrupted the family. But to the one who had to buy property because his family was so large that they ran out of space would soon find himself on the outside looking in again with nowhere to go and dread would be his partner. “Waiting for the return of what once was” vs “waiting for the other shoe to fall.”
When it comes to Jubilee for the Christian, we are in a different camp. We are waiting for the promise of something to come. We are also basking in the promise that those before Jesus could only hope for. In an overall sense it could be said that we are waiting for what once was. Waiting for the time when we will walk with God in the same way Adam did. When we can meet with Him in person. Waiting to see Him face to face. That’s the “moving day” I’m looking forward to!
Father God, I know You hold the universe in Your hands and You have only given me this patch of dirt to occupy for a time. ALL I have belongs to You, even without the Jubilee concept. Thank You for letting me use it for a time. Instead of clinging to it for “memories’ sake” I need to hold it loosely in my hand. What I have is only borrowed for a time and NOTHING holds more value than my relationship with You. If I try and hold onto what I have now I will miss what still waits for me.
That doesn’t mean that I am to abuse or discount what You have given me to use now. What I hold now is precious too as it is also a gift from You. I need to care for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that passes through my “hands” as lovingly as You do. Let me not “crush” them by holding too tightly or “drop” them by holding too carelessly. Let me see each person, place, and time as You do; as having a season and purpose in my journey. Thank You for the journey and thank You that You ALWAYS walk beside me through it. I’m looking forward to my ultimate Jubilee but I’m going to enjoy the “resting places” along the way there.