I remember walking onto a ministry property that I hadn’t walked on in a number of years. And the thing I felt so strongly in my spirit was that the land needed rest. Yes, the land.
All things need rest. God rested on the 7th day. He commands us to rest as one of the Ten Commandments. The animals were to be rested. The foreigners. And even the land.The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai,
Lev 25:2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.
The Israelites were told to farm the land for 6 years, and on the 7th year to let it rest. If it did happen to grow anything they could eat it. But they were not to form or tend it.
Then how were they supposed to eat?
The Lord promised that in their obedience, on the 6th year he would bless them with 3 years worth of harvest. One for the 6th year, enough for the 7th year, and the opportunity to plant based on what was left in the 8th year. Basically the 6th year would be a bountiful harvest, not to get excited about turning a profit more and more, but to actually trust the Lord in the Sabbath year. That took a lot of trust.
But the land needed rest too. So much so that when the Isaelites were sent to captivity, the land was able to get the rest that it deserved:
Lev 26:34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.
I still think land needs rest. Granted much of the world now is city-dwellers, but I do think that our farm ground still needs rest from being worked. There’s something sacred about land and holy. Those of us from agricultural background have somewhat an understanding of this. In fact, many wars are fought over land because of what it means to the people.
The promise was to the Jews but I think the principle remains. Even the land needs rest. I think it would be good if farmers rotated their fields, giving some fields a rest every 7th year. It means trusting the Lord for the harvest.
It’s because land still matters.