My son has access to the hand tools at our house. He is free to use them for his own projects. However, he also needs to be responsible with their use. He must use them safely and not leave them outside after he is finished. I set these rules for him because they are my tools, and he is my son.
Israel needed to be reminded regularly that their land was ultimately God’s. God had the authority to set the rules for its use. In today’s reading, God instructed Israel regarding their farming. They were to work the land for six years (v. 3). But in the seventh year, they were to let the land lie in rest (v. 4). They were not to sow crops or prune their vineyards.
Just like people get a sabbath every seventh day, the land was to get a sabbath every seventh year. Whatever produce the land yielded during the sabbath year, it was to serve as food for everyone (vv. 6–7).
Observing the sabbath year meant that people would not maximize the potential profit of their land. This practice taught Israel that God desired both hard work and trust in Him, since they would have to plan for this sabbath year and had no guarantee that the eighth year would yield a bountiful harvest.
One of the reasons for Israel’s exile from the land was that they did not obey this law. During the exile, “the land enjoyed its sabbath rests” (2 Chron. 36:21).
>> What a great reminder that everything we have ultimately is a gift from the Lord and belongs to Him. The goal of our life should not be to accumulate the maximum amount of wealth we possibly can, but to live in right relationship with God, others, and the world He created. Today is a good day to celebrate the truth that “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it” (Ps. 24:1).
“The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters” (Ps. 24:1–2). Everything we have is a gift from You. Thank You!