Athlete, What Scripture says about Sabbath, Part 2
Leviticus 25:6-7 (ESV)
The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired worker and the sojourner who lives with you, and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: all its yield shall be for food.
As God commanded Sabbath rest for human bodies, He also commanded that the land enjoy rest. This was called the Sabbath Year. The promise was that the Sabbath “shall provide food for you.”
By not touching the land for a whole year, God promised that the next year, it would yield enough food for every single person in the household, and even all the wild and domestic animals. That’s a bountiful harvest!
Ray C. Stedman writes in “The True Basis of Social Concern”: “This is a very important principle of horticulture. You can write the U.S. Department of Agriculture and they will send you pamphlets which urge you to allow your land to rest every now and then. The result will be, as this passage tells us in verse 6, an increase of yield.”
God created and intended sabbath to be both a spiritual law and a natural law. Just as farmers yield more crops when they let the land rest, physical bodies yield more when they are rested. While this is a known scientific fact, the same benefit applies to our spiritual lives.
Stedman writes, “If there is a recognition of, and dependence upon, God’s ability to work in social life, in interpersonal relationships, in government, a very important result will obtain which cannot be obtained in any other way. There will be fruitfulness in life.”
Unfortunately, Israel did not keep this command for 70 Sabbath Years, and its consequence for rebelling against God and turning to idols was a 70-year exile, during which the land was given its sabbath rest. Of course, Israel was guilty of many sins besides not observing the Sabbath – mainly, idolatry and apostasy (Jeremiah 17; 2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezekiel 22).
The rules and regulations of the Old Testament law were given so that God’s people would be set apart from the nations, that the nations would look at Israel’s distinction and recognize God’s holiness. While God expects obedience from His people, what He desires most from His people is worship (Isaiah 1:13; 56, 58; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).
Consider what sabbath rest can provide for you. Take an assessment of how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and trust that God wants to use sabbath rest to make you more fruitful.