Hello, this is Lynn Hilton Wilson, and I’m here to talk about chapter 15 in the book of Deuteronomy. It’s a fabulous chapter where we talk about the Sabbatical year, the year of release. And it all points to me to the law of consecration, as we are trying to create a Zion society with the children of Israel. I initially had introduced the book of Deuteronomy by saying, it’s a collection of Moses sermons, but the central portion from chapters twelve to 26 are these laws. And the law is established right in the middle of to the beginning, I guess, of that is this law of the release in chapter 15.
And that’s where I want to focus today. Starting with verse one, reread at the end of every seven years, thou shalt make a release in the King James release is all it says, but in other translation it refers to a release of credit or a release of your debts that you’re financially are going to. If someone owes you money and they haven’t been able to pay you back, just let it go. Just let it go. Don’t hold them in debt this long.
Continuing on in verse four, also in the new International version, it reads, however, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land of the Lord your God is giving to you to possess your inheritance. He will richly bless you. There’s plenty of land, there’s plenty of food here. You don’t need to be holding on to every single Penny. Let these people go.
There’s plenty. Just enough actually, is plenty in the Lord’s mind, isn’t it? As we continue looking down in verse six, he focuses on the need to take care of each other. However, he also says, I don’t want you to get in debt. Listen to this, for the Lord God blessed thee and as he promised thee, thou shalt lend to many nations, but thou shalt not borrow.
He does not want us to be financially beholden to others. And modern prophets have identified that saying, if you need to go into debt for an education or your house, there’s a time and place for that. But generally speaking, let’s try to live on what we earn and be selfsufficient. But underlying this law of the release is the law of generosity. And the next few verses talk about this openhandedness being generous, and I want to continue on with verse seven.
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites, do not be hard hearted or tight fisted toward him. And then in verse eleven, there will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be open handed towards your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. This, to me is an invitation for the law of consecration. Let’s realize that we are just stewards of the land.
It’s the Lord’s land, and he is the one that’s providing the plenty we need to act as his servants and be his stewards and give to those in need. I love the law in the Old Testament about the gleaning the outside corners of your fields of being left for the poor to go and work for it. And they had other things as well. But one of the things that they used was this servitude. And if someone came to serve you or to be a slave for you, if you bought them and paid for them for six years after that 6th year, that 7th year would be a year of release, or a Sabbatical year too reads, if thy brother a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman be sold unto thee and served thee six years, then in the 7th year thou shalt let him go free from thee.
It sounds to me like this is a repeat of the law that was given in Exodus, chapter 21, verse seven. But there’s one difference here. The female appears to have the opportunities be released in Deuteronomy, whereas in Exodus the female was usually taken possession by the master to raise up seed to the master, and so she would stay to raise her children. I don’t know if they practiced both laws. If one did not raise upset, were they allowed after the 7th year or not, but I do know that once they were released, they were encouraged to go with many gifts of money and food.
It reads in verse 13 and 14, when thou sendeth him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty, but thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flocks and out of thy floor. That means thy threshing floor. Give him some grains and foods, and they talk about the wine and the vine that’s going to be for him. But why six years? Six, symbolically is often this period of work of trial, but it’s not whole or complete.
Think of the creation. The 7th year is this creation being completed, and it often refers to a year of perfection. And so after six years of work, let them have their completion of this period of time and move on. Six is also used in the New Testament because it’s not perfect as a symbol of things that are not divinely God, even in the book of Revelation. Six, six, six.
It is the antithesis of complete and Holy. It is the counterfeit of God. It is the devil. But some slaves or servants wanted to stay with their Masters, and so they asked if there could be a law for them. And Moses continues on in verse 16 and 17, if your slave or your servant says unto you, I will not go away from thee, because I love thee, and I love your house because he was well with thee.
And then thou shalt take an all and thrust it through his ear into the door, and he shall be thy servant forever, and also thy made servant shall do likewise. So if the maid servant wants to stay forever, then a piercing is made in their ear. And that is a sign that they then are servants or slaves for life. As I looked at the modern revelation on servitude it’s very different because we have different words and meanings in English for slavery and slave. Whereas in Greek and Hebrew they’re the same word.
And it’s very different than what we think of in America. If we’re letting someone go, if they need a place to work for seven years, that’s very different than what we know in our history. But as I looked at the Book of Mormon, the word slave is in five verses. If I looked in the doctrine covenants, it’s only in two. But servitude, or this idea of being a servant is 131 verses in the Book of Mormon and in the doctor of Governance, it’s in 380 verses.
This is very much a part of what the Lord is trying to teach us. And in most of the cases he’s asking us to be his servants to do his bidding. That’s the whole idea. We have a master because he has bought us back. He has paid for us not only in Gethsemane, but in Galgotha on the cross.
He has paid for our sins. He has suffered for us. So we now are indebted to him. We are to serve him and as disciples of Jesus Christ. When we are baptized.
When we enter into a Covenant with Him, we Covenant that we will serve him. And that, to me, is one of the most beautiful messages of the law of consecration is that we are to serve God’s children. We are to help each other. And by so doing, we are serving our God. May we look at these laws in the Old Testament in the broader framework of the restoration and find more meaning.
I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.