The joyful sound of freedom

When the year of Jubilee came, every debt was wiped out. All leases and possessions reverted back to the original leaseholder, which meant that the farmer would get his land and his family back. Read about it in Leviticus 25.

You can imagine the rejoicing that took place in Israel and Judah when the trumpets sounded. At that moment, on the tenth day of the seventh month, while the high priest was making atonement, every bondservant who had been sold into slavery was set free. And every person who had lost property was given back everything. Families were reunited. Homes were restored. It was a time of liberty, freedom, deliverance!

I picture destitute farmers standing along the demarcation lines of their old property, waiting to step over as soon as the trumpets sounded. They had been waiting ten years . . . then five . . . then one . . . and now they counted the minutes to hear the joyful sound. They must have thought, “I’m getting back everything I lost. It’s mine again—because this is the year of Jubilee!”

There was to be no planting or harvesting during the year of Jubilee. Instead, the time was to be spent rejoicing. Jubilee was an entire year of Christmas every day, of praising God for His grace, provision and freedom.

Please understand, the liberty proclaimed at Jubilee was not some nebulous idea founded on faith alone. It was the law of the land. All a debtor needed to do to have the law enforced was to stand on it. The Levites acted as monitors, or sheriffs, so that everyone was assured justice.

Occasionally, a master might say to a bondservant, “You’re not leaving; you’re still my servant! Get back to your labors.” But that servant could laugh in the master’s face and say, “We both know what that trumpet sound means. It’s the joyful sound of my freedom. You have no legal rights to me anymore. I’m free!”

How the people waited and longed to hear that joyful sound. It meant having the freedom to say, “Nothing in my past can be held against me. I’ve been delivered and no one can rob me of my inheritance.” Yet the person in bondage had to act in order to take possession of his freedom or his lost property. He could dance and shout in the synagogue all he wanted, crying, “I’m free! Everything has been restored!” But until he stepped out and claimed his rights, he could not enjoy any of it. Do you see the significance here? Most Christians have not claimed the Jubilee that Jesus Christ has given them. Many think the “joyful sound” today is merely hand-clapping or dancing in an emotional time of praise. But it is so much more. God calls us to appropriate the freedom, peace and glory He has provided for us through the forgiveness of sins. We are to step out and claim it!



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