Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Seventh Year

O. T. #294  "The Seventh Year"
May 22, 2014
Leviticus 25
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.  Leviticus 25:2


Has our people, our nation, our economy fallen on hard times? Have we become so greedy that we don't share (time, money, materials, help) with our neighbors? Where is our faith in God's provision for us? Are we sacrificing our children for the almighty dollar? Where are our priorities? Do we have to keep up with the Jones, so to speak? Can we really get by with a smaller, used car rather than the big gas guzzlers? Can we live in a smaller house, or are we so prideful that we must have a bigger one than our neighbors? Do we stop worshiping on Sundays in order to catch up on chores around the house and yard?
Has modern technology taken away jobs? Have people learned to depend upon hand outs instead of working? Things to consider.
Forgive me for stepping up on my soap box. I think we would be better off with less material things and less debt. Experiencing the way others live in foreign countries has been an eye opener for me.
What do you think, friends? Stay with me in this chapter and see where I am coming from.

The economic system in Israel was based on three fundamental principles:
  1. God owned the land and had a right to control it (verse 23);
  2. God owned the people, because He had redeemed them from Egyptian bondage                (verses 38, 42, 55);
  3. The Jews were a family and should care for each other (verses 25, 35-36, 39, 47). (Wiersbe)
In this last chapter of Leviticus, we read of the laws regarding the sabbatic years, outlined by Warren Wiersbe:
  • The Sabbatic Year (verses 1-7, 18-22)
  • The Year of Jubilee (verses 8-17, 23-24)
  • The Care of the Poor (verses 25-55).
God was laying down the law, so to speak, before the Israelites went into the Promised Land. As we have previously read, the number seven appeared several times in the Old Testament Jewish calendar. The number seven refers to perfection.There was to be:
  • the Sabbath, observed on the seventh day of the week,
  • Pentecost came seven weeks after Passover,
  • the seventh month introduced the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles,
  • every seventh year was a Sabbatic Year,
  • after seven Sabbatic years came the Year of Jubilee.
Just as God provided a weekly Sabbath for His people, He provided a rest for the land. This law was for the future whenever Israel lived in the conquered land. What do we learn about this law?
  • There was to be one year of rest after six years of production. The land would lie fallow and restore its fruitfulness. The land was keeping a Sabbath unto the LORD. (verse 2)
  • God promised to provide abundant crops during the sixth year, so the Sabbatic Year was a test of faith for the people. He would supply double (two years worth) in the harvest in preparation of the sabbatic year. Also, God would supply triple (three years worth) in the 48th year. (verses 5-7, 20-21)
  • There was to be neither the planting of grain nor the pruning of grape vines during that year. (verses 3-4)
  • Whatever popped up from the ground, growing on its own, was free for all to eat-poor, rich, stranger, servant, cattle, and beasts. This was an expression of the love of God for the poor of the land. ((Ex. 23:10-12) All debts were to be remitted at the end of the 7th year.               (Deut. 15:1-11) Jewish servants were to serve only 6 years. (21:2)
  • The Israelites were to spend some of this time teaching the law of Moses to their children. (Deut. 31:10-13) It would have like a week-long Bible conference reminding the people of what God had done and what He expected of them.
[Resources: Liberty Bible Commentary, Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament]

All prisoners and captives were set free, slaves released, and debtors absolved. All property reverted to original owners. This plan curbed inflation and moderated acquisitions. It also gave new opportunity to people who had fallen on hard times.  (MacArthur)


Is our society so busy working, that we do not rest? Stores used to be closed on Sundays when I was growing up.
Why does our land not get to rest a year? Instead, we use fertilizers to replenish the nutrients so it will keep on producing.
Has our faith in God's provision lingered, doing things our own way?

The Sabbath Year was an opportunity for a new beginning for those who had experienced difficulties financially. Unfortunately, there's no evidence that the nation ever faithfully obeyed this law
(2 Chron. 36:21). the prophets often condemned the Jewish leaders and wealthy people for their ruthless treatment of the poor. Had it been observed, the poor would not have lost their lands and the rich would not have had huge estates. (Wiersbe)

Are we teaching each new generation the Word of God? Are we reminding the older generation what it says?


Be grateful. 
Be content.

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