Read Leviticus 25:8-54
Leviticus 25:23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. 24 Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.
When we read through Leviticus 25, we will discover a parallel between law regarding the Promised Land and law regarding the Israelites. Both begin with the premise that they belong to the Lord. The land belong to Him and the Israelites belong to Him. Therefore the buying and selling of either land or slaves have to be governed by His decree.
While modern day economy is much more complex than ancient agricultural Israel, modern day productivity depends on just the same principles – natural resources and human resource. Sadly, both natural resources and human resources have been abused by the industrial world.
We have learned (recently and through some hard reality) to emphasize on sustainability of natural resources. We try not to cut down trees without replanting them. When are we going to realize that human resources also need to be sustainable? In biblical time, when agriculture was the main economic activity, God ordained laws to regulate land ownership and slavery. In modern time for a society to be sustainable, we need a different set of rules.
While there is no official slavery in a modern economy, we have to ask ourselves how exploitation of cheap labor in sweat shops around the world is different from slavery. While we know how to replant trees, we have to ask ourselves why we are not re-training workers when their skills become obsolete in this fast pace technologically driven economy. We diligently recycle our paper, we fire our employee as if they are disposable.
Let us proclaim the Year of Jubilee. That was Jesus’ message on earth.