“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.” Leviticus 25:3-4
Land apparently needs time to rest. The Lord established a 7-year cycle for crops. Farmers were to work their fields for six years, and then let the land rest on the 7th year. If they did not obey, the Lord would bring disaster on them including barren fields and their physical removal from the land so that it could have its sabbath without its inhabitants.
- “For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them…” Leviticus 26:43
With the growing population and the need to feed them, is letting the land rest every 7th year still applicable today? In 2007 (the last sabbath year), Jewish Rabbis compromised Scripture with a new sales permit called “heter mechira.” This sales permit allowed Jews to temporarily sell their land to non-Jews during the 7th year so that the land could be cultivated by non-Jews, thereby releasing them from ‘not cultivating the land’ as God had requested. The next sabbath year will be 2014. It will be interesting to see if they continue “heter mechira.”
I can’t help but wonder if the 7th year rest rule is still suppose to be followed today. Are we still to use the seven year cycle? I’m not a farmer, but noticing the fields I go by each day, it doesn’t appear that the fields are taking a rest… crop rotation yes, but not full rest. Are there consequences from God for not following His cycle to give the land rest? I’m not sure, but if you look all around, diseases like cancer are on the rise. Could it be from genetically engineered crops, designed to increase yields year after year, without field rest? Is the increase in starvation a result of not following God’s plan? In the 7th year, those who are poor are to glean from the resting fields for free. Just some things to ponder…
“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 ” 2 Chronicles 36:21
Lord, sometimes it is not clear what part of the Old Testament we are to follow today, and which parts are not applicable. If the fields need rest still today, we pray that you open the eyes of the farmers who follow you and show them your plan for rest, which will ultimately increase their yields and feed those in need. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.