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Sabbath Living

Sabbath Living
While the Sabbath was “made for man” (Mark 2:27), the blessings of this holy day extended even to service animals (Exodus 20:10). A deeper study of the Sabbath in the Pentateuch reveals a rest for the land itself. While this application is not found in the fourth commandment, it illustrates a principle of rest that teaches us several things about God.

Some have used agricultural references in Exodus and Leviticus to benefit their own fields today. In Beef Magazine (July 2016), for instance, Burt Rutherford writes of a ranch consultant who recommends a biblical approach to caring for your land. In “A Biblical Look at Rotational Grazing,” Dan E. Gary suggests applying Leviticus 25:3, 4 to the ranching business. The Bible passage he uses says, “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard."

Gary outlines a plan of rotating sections of your pastureland instead of selling off all your cattle every seven years (which would be challenging). Dividing your fields into seven sections and giving one parcel a rest each year would accomplish the same goal.

While God’s command to the Israelites to give their land a sabbath (with a small “s”) rest every seven years is not directly stated in the Ten Commandments, the concept teaches us of the Lord’s care for creation in many ways. Sabbatical years reminded the Israelites that even the land belonged to the Lord. It also gave the land a fallow period that improved agricultural quality. And it was an opportunity for everyone (rich and poor) to trust in God to provide for them since there would be no regular harvest.

The same concept of trust can be seen in the story of the giving of the manna in Exodus 16. God instructed the Israelites to gather manna every day except on the Sabbath. To have enough for Sabbath, the Lord told the people to gather double the amount on Friday and, unlike other days, the extra amount would not spoil.

Like God’s people of old, we may be tempted to wonder how the Lord could provide for us if we obeyed the fourth commandment and stopped working one day a week. Perhaps there are more blessings awaiting us in keeping the Sabbath holy than we might realize.

For a closer look at different Sabbath days and feast days in the Bible, download or read online this free booklet by Joe Crews titled, “Feast Days & Sabbaths: Are They Still Binding?” 
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