Sabbatical Year/Shemitah, Part 4

Exodus 23:10-11 You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

So what is the big deal? Does God really care if this law is followed? After all, farmers have to make money. We all have to eat. How can we survive during the seventh year if food is not grown? Is God being unreasonable? Is this practical? Does God know what He is doing?

Are there consequences for Israel not keeping the Sabbatical or Shemitah year? God’s response is straight forward. He told Moses and nation Israel at Mount Sinai. If you do not keep the commandments, I will kick you out of the land and disperse you. There will be pain and suffering. See Leviticus 26:14-39 for Israel’s complete consequences of disobedience. Specifically, these are the issues related to the disobedience of the Sabbatical or Shemitah year.

Leviticus 26:34-35 Then the land will enjoy its Sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your Sabbaths, while you were living on it.

Leviticus 26:43 For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes.

Eventually, Israel disobeyed God and His commandments. God counted 70 Sabbatical or Shemitah years Israel had not kept. Judgment came via the Babylonians. Jews of all ages were slaughtered. The temple was raided. The articles for worship and service were stolen and taken to Babylon. The temple was burned. The walls of the city were destroyed. Buildings and resources were plundered. Those who survived were taken into captivity in Babylon. And why did these events take place? 2 Chronicles 36:21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete. And when 70 years were completed, a decree went from Cyrus. Israel went back to their land (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).

This is what happened to Israel historically. The Jews were kicked out of the land again in 70 AD and scattered throughout the globe…Israel became a nation again in 1948. For whatever reason, there is an element of the Jewish people who are interested in giving the land its rest this Sabbatical year. The Shemitah started in the Fall of 2014 and ends September 15, 2015 on the Gregorian calendar.

One Response to “Sabbatical Year/Shemitah, Part 4”

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