3. a. On Mt. Sinai, God instructed Moses to observe the Sabbath years for the land beginning with the very first year.
“Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you, the land will observe a Sabbath to the Lord.” Leviticus 25:2 HCSB
b. The instructions the Lord gave through Moses—
The first six years—
- Plant your fields.
- Prune your vineyards.
- Harvest your crops.
The seventh year—
- Do not plant your fields.
- Do not prune your vineyards.
- Don’t store away the crops that grow on their own.
- Don’t gather the grapes that grow on the unpruned vines.
- The land must have a complete rest.
- You may eat whatever the land produces on its own.
- This applied to the Israelites, their servants, their hired workers, and temporary residents living with them.
- Allow the livestock and wild animals to eat what the land produces.
c. As I made that list, I imagined how I would react to the land’s Sabbath rest—
- Wow, a whole year off from plowing, pruning, canning, drying, winnowing, wine-making, etc! Yay!
- Wait a minute! Won’t we starve? Won’t we run out of wine?
- Please tell me Canaan has Wal-Mart Superstores!
- Will we get manna that year? (I’m so sick of manna.)
- Will all our servants run away for fear of starving?
- How will we pay our employees?
- Are we allowed to lay them off?
- What a mess the fields and vineyards will be after a year of neglect. Bermuda grass and dandelions will take over!
- What will I do all spring and summer? I love gardening—The fresh air, the sunshine, watching the seedlings emerge, eating the first tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, corn on the cob…
- I have to get a hold of myself. If God said to do it, then we will be better off in the long run. Why is it so scary to trust God? I guess it’s because I DON’T trust Him. Lord, help my unbelief.
4. a. Deuteronomy 15:1-18—
The Sabbatical year was about trusting God, not relying on yourself, not being greedy, and not taking advantage of each other.
Instead, be generous to anyone in need because every good and perfect gift comes from God.
It’s interesting that man’s way is pushing and pushing; taking advantage of every opportunity; getting up early and staying up late to prosper. I needed that.
b. The Sabbath year could increase the faith of the Israelites by
- Seeing the land produce an abundance for themselves and their livestock
- Seeing their stored supplies lasting through the year of Sabbath rest
c. Analogy between Christian Sundays and the Sabbath Year—
I can use my brother as a good example of not working on Sundays. Not that he rests on Sunday.*
From the beginning, he chose not to open his business on Sunday even though it’s typically one of the busiest days of the week for his type of business. He has some of the best, most loyal employees, and is to one of the largest, most reputable in his metropolitan area.
*Anyone who is active in a church works just as hard or harder on Sundays as any other day. I know I did.
A Sabbath year was for the land itself. The people weren’t allowed to work the land for an entire year. My brother has never closed the doors of his business for an entire year.
The bakers, weavers and other craftsmen weren’t commanded to take a year off, so it didn’t apply to all activities. It applied only to specific types of work related to the land.
So the implied analogy doesn’t hold up, in my opinion. Nonetheless, it is always advisable to have faith in God.
These are MY answers to the study questions. Not THE answers.