Well, another year has come and gone. Looking back over the last 12 months, I am almost astonished at how far I’ve come. The Lord has really been showing me things about myself, about my future, and about who I am in Him. If you have known me for an extended period of time, you will know that I have had struggles with who my identity was. I think almost everyone can understand what I am talking about. But this past year, I have learned not only who I am, but how much I am worth. So this little email is about a few things I have learned on my journey to become, well, me. 🙂
First off, the Year of Jubilee…well, I would ask for a show of hands on how many people know what that is but, obviously that wouldn’t work. The Year of Jubilee is the year at the end of the seven sabbatical years. So it would occur at the every 50 years. In the Year of Jubilee, an Israelite was required to return any land that he had purchased and set free any of his slaves. Being a slave in the biblical Jewish term wasn’t like the picture of slaves we have today. In Bible times, if you had borrowed money from someone but couldn’t repay it, you were required to sell yourself to your debtor to work off your debt. (Jesus alludes to it in Matt. 18:21-35 with the parable of the unforgiving servant) But every 50 years you were set free. That is the biblical context of the Year of Jubilee. (On a side note: Just because in the Old Testament under the old covenant the Year of Jubilee happened only every 50 years doesn’t mean that today, after the death of Christ every year cannot be a Year of Jubilee. In fact, I firmly believe that we can choose whether or not our year will be a good year or a bad year. It all hinges on perspective)
But now to apply that to modern day terms…there are a couple things that we can learn. The first is:The Year of Jubilee is About Receiving Forgiveness. That is ultimately what Christianity is about, receiving forgiveness and erasing the debt or wrongdoing. Basically wipe the slate clean. At the beginning of a new year, people all over the globe promise to change, promise to work out, promise to be good — and whatever. We always say, “I’m going to start with a clean slate!” But so often we don’t realize how hard that is. Starting with a clean slate requires us to clean out all the gunk first!
(John2:1-11 “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”
These servants can represent us. We are commanded to follow Christ instructions just as Mary commanded the servants “whatever He says to you, do it”. Now these stone water pots were filled with dirty water. These were the water pots that everyone washed in. And life back then was dirty and hard. Jesus commanded them to fill them with water. But to do that, they first had to be emptied. They had to be emptied of all the yucky and nasty stuff that had built up inside in order for them to be filled with fresh, pure, clean water.
In Bible times, wine was almost a necessity. It became symbolic of sustenance and life. In order for us to be filled with life from the Holy Spirit, we must first empty out our “water pots” and clean out all the gunk inside. What better time to do that than the New Year! The New Year symbolizes new beginnings, a fresh start. If we truly want to start off 2014 with a bang, we must empty out all of the ugly baggage and stuff from 2013. (Phil. 3:13 “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead”)
The second thing is: the Year of Jubilee is About Obtaining the Promises (or Inheritance of God). If for some reason a family needed money and they sold their land which was also their family inheritance, at the end of the sabbatical cycle, they would receive it back. That is a firm promise of God, that He WILL restore. (Joel 2:25 “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten”.) You see, the year of Jubilee is not only about cleaning out our lives and receiving the forgiveness of God, but it is also the year that we receive back what has been taken from us. Whatever has been stolen from us, health, finances, etc, God promises restoration. So, I pray that this year will be a year of healing and restoration. I know I have had a few large bumps in 2013 where sometimes I wondered what the heck I was even doing. Sometimes someone or something I counted on let me down (and believe me, when I am let down, I am let down hard 🙂 ) I would wonder what the heck was going on. But now I can see that it was all part of the restoration process. The years of the locust has ended and I feel like God wants to restore His people. We just have to be willing to clean out all of our junk.
So these are a couple things that I learned in 2013. Hopefully I have been able to encourage you as well. 🙂 Remember to smile and keep pushing on! It’s the Year of Jubilee!