Under the old covenant, God gave the Jews many types of Sabbaths. The weekly Sabbath is well-known. There were however some lesser-known Sabbaths as well. One was the Sabbath year that came at the end of every six years (Lev.25:2-4). Another was the fiftieth-year Sabbath that came at the end of every seven Sabbath years (after every 49 years). This fiftieth year Sabbath was called "the year of jubilee" (Lev. 25:8-12).
In the year of jubilee, the Israelites were "to proclaim liberty throughout the land to all enslaved debtors", and it was to be"a time for the cancelling of all debts" (Lev.25:10 - Living).
The Lord had commanded the cancellation of all debts at the end of every seventh year as well, when "every creditor shall write, `Paid in full', on any promissory note he holds..........because the Lord has released everyone from his obligation" (Read Deut.15:1-10 carefully).
The Sabbath years were to be times of great blessing and joy. The word "jubilee" means "a shout of joy". The year of jubilee was to be a year full of joyous shouts - because every debt had been forgiven, and every debtor released. Therefore, the Lord told the Israelites concerning that year,"What a happy year it will be for you" ( Lev.25:11 - Living).
Now, under the new covenant we celebrate the Sabbath day every day of the week, for every day is holy unto the Lord.
And we celebrate the Sabbath year every year - for every year is a year of jubilee - a year of rejoicing in which we release and forgive all who have harmed us and cheated us. Thus, every single year of our lives can be happy - for every year is meant to be a year of jubilee for us.
Our calling is to be merciful to others just as God has been merciful to us. That phrase, "JUST AS GOD HAS BEEN TO US" is the motto we must keep in mind at all times in our dealings with all human beings.
We have received much freely from the Lord. Then let us give freely to others as well (Matt.10:8) - not in a miserly or stingy way, but liberally and with a large heart.
We must never lose the wonder of the forgiveness that the Lord has granted us so freely. OUR WHOLE LIFE MUST NOW BE LIVED AS AN EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE TO THE LORD FOR ALL THAT HE DID FOR US ON CALVARY'S CROSS.
The good news of the gospel is that we can be saved from a miserable existence. We can now have rivers of living water flowing out through us constantly and be a blessing to every family that we meet.
We can be merciful to others just as God has been merciful to us.
We can release others just as God has released us.
We can bless others just as God has blessed us.
We can give freely to others just as God has freely given to us.
We can be large-hearted to others just as God has been to us.
This year - and every year - can be a happy year for all of us, if we release everyone who owes us anything, or who has hurt or harmed us in any way. Bury those grudges permanently and be merciful to all men and thus make a new beginning with the Lord today.