An Acceptable Year

Its a bright sunshin’ day in Alberta and the year is looking up… unless you read the newspapers,

Subprime virus infects one and all…
Prepare to take a loss, investors cautioned…
Losses set to soar…
Political uncertainty, US data shake up markets…

Cheerful!

It seems that some abuses to the system are catching up with us. There is not much grace in the markets and our governments are unable to (and probably shouldn’t) bail most people out.

I had to write a paper last semester and chose to do one on the year of Jubilee. It kind of relates to the current economic uncertainty. Under their law system, once every 50 years a man could go from being a landless slave to a landowning prince. At the sounding of a rams horn (jubal), liberty was proclaimed throughout the land. This happened just before the Day of Atonement and was closely associated with that feast. During the year of Jubilee, those who had sold all their possessions and even their own bodies to hard labour were restored to back to their homes and land. What’s more, this was a year (or two) of rest in which God promised to provide for their every need.

The word used for liberty (deror) carries the meaning of a presidential pardon.

“The word [deror] is a cognate of the Akkadian word anduraru which designates an edict of release issued by the Old Babylonian kings and some of their successors. This edict was often issued by a king upon ascending the throne.”[i]

This was the kind of liberty that only a king had the power to give. The word itself is only found in a couple of places in the OT and always in reference to the year of Jubilee. One of those places is Isaiah 61:1,2; the passage that Jesus quoted when, having left the wilderness, he returned to Nazareth and delivered one of his first sermons. It was a very short message and consisted almost entirely of another mans words yet it far surpasses WHC’s famously short ‘Never give up’ speech for impact.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty (deror) them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luke 4:18-20

With those gracious words the King proclaimed the ‘acceptable year of the Lord’ – the year of Jubilee. Some listening might have recognized that Jesus halted his quotation mid-sentence. Isaiah wrote, “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord… and the day of vengeance of our God” Jesus will finish the quote later.

But for us, for now, in the economy of grace, there is such a thing as a second chance and a new beginning.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God… Hebrews 4:9

So it’s a good year ahead after all. Sure, we might all be poor and our money worthless (I am making no predictions here) but in another economy (the one that really matters) we are rich.

Happy New Years!


[i] Levine Baruch A. The JPS Torah Commentary. NY: The Jewish Publication Society 1989, pg 168

4 thoughts on “An Acceptable Year”

  1. yo it was really funny. i had a convo with a lady the other day who told me that ca is the only independant nation in the world. she assured me that the us problems would not affect the market or economy in ca. i couldnt help but find this amusing. what are your thoughts?

  2. Well… not sure how that would work considering 3/4 of our trade is with you guys and now, with our strong dollar, you aren’t buying. So your northern bro’s are hoping you get things figured out. : P

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