God’s Renewing Word of Peace and Justice
Leviticus 25:23-38: The poor were often forced to sell their property or land and thus they were no longer able to make a living from it. Today’s reading commands the people of God to look after the needs of the poor.
Restoration of Property
23 Your land must not be sold on a permanent basis, because you do not own it; it belongs to God, and you are like foreigners who are allowed to make use of it.
24 When land is sold, the right of the original owner to buy it back must be recognized. 25 If any of you Israelites become poor and are forced to sell your land, your closest relative is to buy it back. 26 If you have no relative to buy it back, you may later become prosperous and have enough to buy it back yourself. 27 In that case you must pay to the one who bought it a sum that will make up for the years remaining until the next Year of Restoration, when you would in any event recover your land. 28 But if you do not have enough money to buy the land back, it remains under the control of the one who bought it until the next Year of Restoration. In that year it will be returned to its original owner.
29 If you sell a house in a walled city, you have the right to buy it back during the first full year from the date of sale. 30 But if you do not buy it back within the year, you lose the right of repurchase, and the house becomes the permanent property of the purchasers and their descendants; it will not be returned in the Year of Restoration. 31 But houses in unwalled villages are to be treated like fields; the original owner has the right to buy them back, and they are to be returned in the Year of Restoration. 32 However, Levites have the right to buy back at any time their property in the cities assigned to them. 33 If a house in one of these cities is sold by a Levite and is not bought back, it must be returned in the Year of Restoration,a]”>[a] because the houses which the Levites own in their cities are their permanent property among the people of Israel. 34 But the pasture land around the Levite cities shall never be sold; it is their property forever.
Loans to the Poor
35 If any Israelites living near you become poor and cannot support themselves, you must provide for them as you would for a hired worker, so that they can continue to live near you. 36 Do not charge Israelites any interest, but obey God and let them live near you. 37 Do not make them pay interest on the money you lend them, and do not make a profit on the food you sell them. 38 This is the command of the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt in order to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
Today’s Key Verse: Leviticus 25:23
Your land must not be sold on a permanent basis, because you do not own it; it belongs to God, and you are like foreigners who are allowed to make use of it.
How were the laws of ancient Israel set up to help those who were poor or those who had become poor? How are the poor cared for in your community? Does your community of faith play a role?
Holy God, I am your servant. May I honor you today by sharing your love and helping someone in need. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
And now, join us in praying for struggling families in Paraguay who are unable to afford their own Bibles. Dear God, families in Paraguay are still struggling from the economic effects of the pandemic. Children had to adjust to virtual classes that separated them from friends and teachers. But thanks to the generosity of Bible-A-Month Club Partners, audio Bibles were made available for children to hear and listen together with their classmates and children are receiving their very own Bibles. Thank you, God, that impoverished children and adults in Paraguay are now coming to know Jesus through Scripture. Amen.
Leviticus 25:39-55: The treatment and release of slaves is described.