Sabbath for the Land
It has always been in God’s plan for all of us to take a break. Working hard, managing business and exploring new ideas is part of most of our lives, even if we don’t take the time to notice it. Yet, there can come a time in our lives where we work too much. God said, a man shall work six days and then on the seventh day he should stop working. This did not only mean going to a place of employment, but a total stop of any thing that wasn’t God focused.
The children of Israel was taught this over many years and for the most part they followed this Break-Time rule. But God did not just say that man needed a rest, but the land also need time to renew itself. His plan was that every seventh year, you would not plant crops. We know today that overworking the ground can be unhealthy for the crops and the one eating the crops.
The Children of Israel did what was evil in God’s eyes. They practiced those things that God told them not to practice. They disobeyed his Word and to this point, did not observe the Sabbath (rest) of the land.
God is concerned with the well being of his planet. He made it, he spoke it into existence and keeps it on place by the power of His Word. Those who were given charge to cultivate it were now destroying it. Israel’s problems were first a spiritual problem then a natural problem. Greed and gluttony was a spiritual problem that affected the land. God’s solution was not pretty — he removed them from the land and sent them to the very things that they so desired, only as slaves.
He gave the land a time to rest, a very short time in our eyes, but enough to replenish and revitalize the land — Seventy Years Worth!
The Lord of all Creation is always more concerned for the souls of men, then He is about what they walk on. This doesn’t mean that God isn’t concerned about how we manage His Earth. God wants us to take a break from always taking from His creation. He knows that sin has produced a greed for consumption and if we are left to ourselves we would eventually destroy this Earth.
If the Earth is going to be destroyed, why care?
The Bible says that the Earth will be consumed with fire (2 Peter 3:10).
Some scholars consider this a refining or cleansing fire. Others think that this fires is a destructive fire that destroys the earth (Death Star style). Whichever you hold to, whatever we see today will not remain.
This temporary existence has been helpful to understand. Since God is creator and the earth His creation, we can study it without fear. However, some think that the earth is theirs to use as they please. And that is incorrect.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof and they that dwell in it (Psalm 24:1). It is all God’s and He gave charge of it to Adam and that charge has passed through to all of humanity since.
So as believer’s it’s our responsibility to “preserve the land” for God’s glory. Not for the good of the Earth, but for the glory of God who will one day require us to give an account for how we treated his planet.