Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:1-26:2
Our Scripture reading this week is full of rich and though-provoking passages that deal with trusting God and resting in His faithfulness:
“The LORD then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD. ‘Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. ‘Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year. ‘And all of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. ‘Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat.” Leviticus 25:1-7
This is what we refer to as “Shmitah”, which occurs every seven years in Israel. A condition to understand this important concept is the fact that God tells the sons of Israel that this shall happen when they come into the Land; this specific command is for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. However, I believe this holds important principles that are beneficial to all who follow the Lord.
In these specific scriptures, God commands that the Land should have a sabbath rest. Why would God command a sabbath rest, not just for men, but also for the Land? While there are many spiritual (even mysterious) implications in this command, I personally believe that one of the simplest is that God cares for all of His creation. The principle here, however, is not just for the land, but also for human beings. If the land needs a “break” – which is actually time to rest, time to be sanctified and rededicated to God – how much more do we also need that?
God instructed the Jewish people to take the seventh year and to make it a Sabbath year where everyone can reap its benefits: men, women, slaves, hired people, the foreign residents and the aliens living among us. Even the animals should reap the benefit of enjoying the Sabbath rest of the Land. Our God cares about all of His creation!
Many people, sadly, misunderstand this concept of the Sabbath. Instead of recognizing it as the gift that God intended it to be, many people scorn it as a “law” where we are forbidden to do things we are used to doing. And the gift of the Shmitah falls within the same concept of the Sabbath rest. But what God is giving us in this sabbatical year is an opportunity to rest, reflect, reconnect, sanctify and trust that He will provide for us! Isn’t this a wonderful thing? Not only is it an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His faithfulness to us, but to also show others that He is faithful in His provision.
I have a friend here in Israel who grows vineyards. He is an observant Jew who follows the command to observe the seventh year of rest – the Shmitah. We were talking about how he prepares for the Shmitah, and he told me that it’s amazing to see how, in the 6th year, God blesses his produce with a double portion, which helps him to give his land rest in the 7th year. I marvel at God’s faithfulness to provide all that we need, especially when we demonstrate our trust through our obedience.
Do you trust God? Do you allow Him to demonstrate His faithfulness in your life?
Yeshua gave us a wonderful example of trusting God’s provision in our lives in Matthew 6:
“ “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? “Look at the birds of the 1air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? “And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ” Matthew 6:19-34
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