"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
Leviticus 25:10 KJV
Were you aware that this Scripture passage is inscribed on the Liberty Bell? The very same Liberty Bell that sat in the steeple of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1776. Even though it has been passed down in history that the bell was rung on that day to celebrate America’s independence from England, scholars now believe that it was actually rung on July 8th, when the Declaration of Independence was read to the masses.
This Scripture passage is in the section of Leviticus that tells of the Jewish tradition of Jubilee, which occurs every 50 years. During this time, the land and people rest, and several actions were taken, including that all people were released from their debts and all property was to be returned to its original owner. Being released from your financial debts sounds like a great idea. But if we still observed Jubilee, that would also mean that any property you bought would have to be returned.
Jubilee was to remind the Jewish people they were only tenants of the land they inhabited and stewards of the possessions they owned. It was to proclaim liberty throughout the land and a year of freedom. The Israelites would dedicate the year of rest to God, acknowledging that God would provide for their needs. And that the only true freedom we can have, is the freedom that has been given to us through God.
As we celebrate our nation’s independence this Tuesday, let us be reminded of the true source of our freedom. And to acknowledge that all we have been given, are gifts from God. Let us be thankful.