Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Why do children need to be taught to share? Can you think of examples of selfish behavior that seem to be natural for young children?
2. How familiar are you with these economic systems: capitalism (property owned by individuals), socialism (property owned by the government), mixed economy (property owned by individuals but heavily regulated by the government)? What are some positive and negative aspects of each of these systems?
Read Leviticus 25:1-5.
1. At the core of economic systems is who owns and controls property. Try to summarize the essence of the economic system of Israel (Leviticus 25:2, 23; Genesis 17:8; Numbers 33:53, 54; Psalm 24:1).
2. Summarize the commands found in these verses concerning use of the land. Why do these not make sense in any other economic system but make perfect sense for the economic system of Israel?
Read Leviticus 25:6, 7.
3. How do you think accepting the command that crops could not be planted every seventh year affected the behavior of Israelites in the years preceding and following the Sabbath year? How might it have affected their behavior during the Sabbath year?
4. During times of crisis or shortages, the tendency of people is to take care of themselves and their families first. How do the commands in these verses force people to act with broader priorities?
Read Leviticus 25:8-12, 28, 39-42.
5. What unusual provisions concerning property and debt are a part of Jubilee? If followed, how would this have kept Israel from having a permanent wealthy class and a permanent poor class? Why is it appropriate that Jubilee occurred basically once in a lifetime?
6. An estate tax that allows government to take a large percentage of wealth passed from parent to child is derogatorily called the “death tax” by critics. Some supporters argue that it accomplishes something that Jubilee did—preventing the rise of a permanent wealthy class. Try to list arguments for both sides of the issue.
7. Read Isaiah 61:1. Commentators agree that the prophet was referring to a symbolic Jubilee. How would you support that idea? Notice that Jesus began his ministry referring to this same verse. How can we live in ways that demonstrate that Jesus is our Jubilee—freeing us from worry about the future, empowering us to give generously, and keeping us from taking advantage of the less fortunate?