There is something really beautiful in this chapter of Leviticus: "Even if [an Israelite slave] is not redeemed in any of these ways, he and his children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (vs 54-55)
In this chapter, God has laid out the instructions regarding the ownership of land and property (including servants) in Israel. Yes, there was buying and selling of both land and people that could take place, but every 50th year was a Year of Jubilee. In this year, with few exceptions, land that had been sold as income was returned to its original owner and people who had sold themselves for work were released.
While laying out the instructions for the return of the land, God reminded the Israelites not to cheat and take advantage of each other. Remember, He said, "the land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants." (vs 23) I found this interesting. Right in the middle of detailing property rights, God reminds the Israel that He is the land’s rightful owner. Do you realize what this means? That as rightful owner of the land, God wasn’t hoarding it for Himself. Instead, He has freely given it to us for our use. He only asks that we remember where it came from in the first place so we don’t start trying to hurt others by abusing the privilege of owning it.
Later, He says something similar about slaves and servants. He asks the Israelites to not rule mercilessly over their servants, but to be kind. And, every 50 years, slaves were set free. The point was there would be no more permanent slaves in Israel. Servants were given the choice to go or stay, but they couldn’t be forced to work for their master beyond the Year of Jubilee. And what was the reason given for that? Because, God said, they are really My servants.
Wow! In Leviticus 25, God ensures the opportunity of freedom for those whom He calls His servants. And it’s still the same today. With God, we never find ourselves shackled and enslaved. Rather, we are free to come in and go out. We are never freer than when we are called His slave.
Liberty. Opportunity. These sound like great American values, but they are actually rooted in the One God of Heaven and Earth. The further we stray from Him, the further we will find ourselves from liberty (for proof, one need look no further than current events in America). It is only in God that we can find true and lasting freedom!