We talk about the ‘seven-year itch’ in a marriage, a period when doubt, disillusionment and decay can take hold of us and wreck our happiness. Yet in the Bible, we read of the opposite: seven-year-blessing.

In Deut 15:1-11 we read how debts were to be cancelled in the seventh year, how the Israelites were commanded to cancel loans made to a fellow Israelite and a clean slate was to be offered to other Jews. This may not have made commercial sense, but was a pathway to blessing, for it reflected God’s generous heart. Servants were to be set free in this period. (Deut 15:12-15) Seven, the perfect number, was to signify liberty, mercy and generosity.

The Year of Jubilee (celebrated every fifty years) was a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and cancelling of debts, but this seven-year-cycle was something which vividly illustrated God’s nature to people in a practical and personal way. Hope was held out; kindness and generosity were encouraged as a way of life, not a one-off feature of godly living. Jesus too taught that generosity should be offered to ‘the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.’ (Luke 14:13) He reminded us that ‘although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’ (Luke 14:14) How can we reflect God’s kindness and generosity today?