But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. — Leviticus 25:4-5
When my nephew was a toddler, he seemed to have an unlimited reserve of energy. While I have raised energetic children of my own, Ryan’s constant “on the go” attitude was quite a source of amusement. One day when our family gathered for a birthday celebration, Ryan (three years old at the time) was in rare form. The excitement of playing with his cousins seemed to propel him from one activity to the next with scarcely a pause to catch his breath. At last, however, the reserve of energy ran out. We discovered him standing by a chair, with his cheek against the seat, fast asleep!
How easy it is to get caught up in the fast-moving pace of our daily schedules, and fail to take necessary breaks in order to refresh ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God knew that would be our tendency, and so He instituted a “time out” — a weekly Sabbath of rest for His people. In today’s portion of text, He also provided a rest for the land — one year of rest after six years of production — and then, a special celebration called the Year of Jubilee after the seventh Sabbatical year.
Are you weary? Is your mind tired? Is your heart overwhelmed? Physical rest for your body is necessary, but the most desirable rest is to have your soul dwell at ease. The only sure way to find that rest is to make a spiritual connection with Christ and then to take time to sit at His feet.
Take a spiritual “Sabbath”! To do this, you must cease from your own efforts; you must trust in Jesus to bring you God’s rest. Set aside a time to quiet the internal noise so you can hear the still small voice of God. Meditate on His Word. Take time for prayer and reflection. As you turn to Jesus in your thoughts and prayers, He will give you rest.
For the Israelites of Moses’ time, this rest was to be part of their lives in the Promised Land. For us today, it is to be part of our lives here in the busy world we live in.
God wants you to enter into His rest. Will you?
The Year of Jubilee, the fiftieth year after seven cycles of seven years, was called the year of liberty. It was the year of restoration — a special year in which the people were to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land.” It had a leveling effect on Israel’s culture, giving everyone a new start economically and socially.
The Year of Jubilee was launched with a blast from a ram’s horn, signifying a call to joy, liberation, and the beginning of a year for doing justice and loving mercy. The trumpet was sounded on the close of the Day of Atonement; thus the jubilee commenced when the people had been humbling and afflicting their souls for sin. They were then able to hear the trump, or this voice of joy and gladness. All debts were canceled, slaves set free, and lands that had been sold were returned to their original owners.
The Observance of the Year of Jubilee rested on four convictions:
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The way of fellowship with God
D. By observing the Sabbatic Year and Jubilee (25:1-55)
1. The Sabbatic Year (25:1-7)
2. The Year of Jubilee (25:8-55)
a. The consecration of the fiftieth year (25:8-12)
b. The Jubilee and the land (25:13-28)
c. The Jubilee and houses (25:29-34)
d. The Jubilee and the bondsmen (25:35-55)
God commanded the Children of Israel to rest, giving specific instructions as to how and when this should be done. This idea is still important for us today.