But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT -- LAND & DEBT
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD.
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.” (Leviticus 25:1-5) (Emphasis mine)
SABBATH AND LAND
God created Heaven and Earth in six days and rested the seventh day. Man should work six days and rest the seventh.
So too, God has ordained that the LAND should be planted, pruned and harvested six years and REST THE SEVENTH YEAR. By this rest (Sabbath) every seventh year, the soil is restored and revitalized. The fields go to weeds.
But the weeds bring to the topsoil minerals from below and revitalize the soil. The vines and trees are unpruned. But their fruit that falls and rots contributes to the soil.
Modern man calls God's method of land Sabbaths old-fashioned. Modern farmers use sprays and fertilizers. But the soil, without any year of rest, is slowly mined and abused.
Either the earth is renewed by rest, or exploited ruthlessly and gradually turned into a desert. For example, the huge (and expanding) Sahara Desert was once inhabited farmland. Ditto in much of southern Iraq (ancient Babylon).
Farmers may be concerned about how they will eat if they don't plant, prune or harvest in a year of rest. God gives the answer in Leviticus:
“And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.” (Leviticus 25:20-22)
God controls all things. When we believe His Word, and follow His instructions, He will bless our efforts. God will provide food those who give their land rest every seventh year.
He also intends Sabbath years to provide food for the poor and for the beasts of the field.
“And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.” (Exodus 23:10-11)
Between the Exodus from Egypt (c. 1550 B.C.) and the Babylonian Captivity (c. 586 B.C.) the people of Israel neglected the Sabbath Year of Rest for the land -- 70 TIMES. Moses warned the Hebrews what God would do if they ignored His Command to let the land rest.
“Then shall the land enjoy her Sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her Sabbaths.” (Leviticus 26:34)
The Prophet Jeremiah, ten centuries after Moses, again sounded the warning (Jeremiah 25:9-12). But the leaders of Judah would not listen to the Word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah. So it came to pass that the Jews went into captivity in Babylon for 70 years.
“To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” (2 Chronicles 36:21)
SABBATH AND DEBT
“At the end of every SEVEN YEARS thou shalt make a RELEASE.
And this is the manner of the release: Every CREDITOR that LENDETH ought unto his neighbour shall RELEASE it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD'S RELEASE.” (Deuteronomy 15:1-2) (Emphasis mine)
Not only was the LAND to rest every seventh year -- but also all DEBTS were to be FORGIVEN. Forgiveness is basic to the Sabbath. It looks backward to our CREATOR and REDEEMER.
It looks forward to final REST and RELEASE from the burden of sin, guilt and death.
The Lord's Prayer looks forward to the great Sabbath (“Thy kingdom come”). It has as a central petition the Seventh Year Release (“and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”).
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss