Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sabbath Years

I am reading through the Law of Moses. I came upon these verses today from Exodus 23.

10 "For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 "Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed. (NIV)

Here are some more verses about the Sabbath year from Leviticus 25.

20 You may ask, "What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?" 21 I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. 22 While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.

What a leap of faith that would be! No wonder the Israelites never followed through on it. So we can't look to the past to see what they did. We can read God's reaction to their disobedience.
2 Chronicles 36: 20-21

20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah. (NIV)

I have often wondered if there is a Christian equivalent to this Sabbatical year. I mean, I have heard sermons about the importance of observing a weekly day of rest. I have never heard a sermon about taking a year off.

I don't know if this command in Exodus is talking about resting for a year or just allowing the land and animals to rest. I mean was everyone (weavers, carpenters, etc.) suppose to stop working or was it just farmers? And could a farmer take up carpentry that year as long as he let the land go fallow?

Anyway, like I said, I have never heard much about these verses so I would love to hear your opinions.

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