January- Rest, Refresh
“The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year, the land is to have a year of rest.” Leviticus 25:1-5 (NIV)
God established Sabbath years for the land He gave to His people. In this instance, the Hebrew people did not follow God’s direction. God told them to do as He said forever. It took them going into exile for 70 years before they got the message and instituted the practice. I found it interesting God told the Israelites this early on in their time in the land He promised them.
In Leviticus 26:32-38 God tells the people, in detail, what they will go through if they fail to observe the Sabbath years for the land. God outlines what He has to do in order to teach them the lessons He has for them.
• He will lay waste to their land.
• He will scatter His children among other nations.
• He will draw His sword and pursue them.
• Their cities will lie in ruins.
• THEN the land will enjoy its Sabbath years all the time the people are in exile.
• Those who are left in the land will be extremely fearful.
• The Israelites will not be able to stand before their enemies.
• The Israelites will perish in the foreign lands.
• The land of the enemies will devour the Israelites.
• Those who survive will waste away because of their sins or those of their fathers.
This is not a pretty picture. But God felt it was necessary to do in order to teach His children obedience to His instructions.
We as His children need to learn to obey God, even when it comes to finding time to rest and refresh our bodies, minds, and hearts.