Do You Trust God Enough to Obey His Law of Rest: Honoring the Inheritance & Respecting the Possession

Today’s selected reading both continues in, as well as completes the Old Testament book of Leviticus which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the LORD. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the final three chapters of the book—chapter twenty-five, twenty-six and twenty-seven. THE SABBATH YEAR! THE SHEMITAH! THE JUBILEE! BEHOLD HE COMES, RIDING ON THE CLOUDS, SHINING LIKE THE SUN, AT THE TRUMPET CALL. SO LIFT YOUR VOICE, IT’S THE YEAR OF JUBILEE, AND OUT OF ZION’S HILL SALVATION SINGS! IN THE YEAR OF JUBILEE THERE IS FREEDOM! IN THE YEAR OF JUBILEE THERE IS RESTORATION! RESTORATION OF INHERITANCE! RESTORATION OF POSSESSION! WHEN SLAVES GO FREE! WHEN SERVANTS GO FREE! EVERY SEVENTH YEAR! SEVEN SEVENTHS! A SABBATH OF YEARS! SEVEN SABBATH YEARS FOLLOWED BY A YEAR OF JUBILEE! THE LAND NEEDS TO REST! THE VINEYARDS NEED TO REST! THE FIELDS NEED TO REST! SOUNDING THE TRUMPET OF JUBILEE! HALLOWING THE FIFTIETH YEAR AND PROCLAIMING LIBERTY! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the LORD God of the Hebrews speaking unto Moses in mount Sinai and once more speaking unto him concerning the seventh year. If and as you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Exodus, as well as the book of Leviticus, you will quickly discover that while the LORD God did in fact command that the seventh day be regarded as sacred and holy unto Him, He also hallowed and consecrated the seventh year. In all reality, the same principle which was at work on the seventh or Sabbath day was the same principle that was applicable to the Sabbath year. If you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Exodus—as well as the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Leviticus—you will find that the LORD God of the Hebrews gave a specific command to the children of Israel to consecrate and hallow the seventh day of the week. What’s more, is that the LORD God of the Hebrews was very specific concerning giving the children of Israel six days with which to do their work, but on the seventh day they were to rest from all their labor and all their work. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Exodus which is found in the twentieth chapter of the book within the Ten Commandments:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor that stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).

The mention of the Sabbath day was first found in the sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus when the LORD God of the Hebrews provided the children of Israel with bread from heaven. The command and instruction for the children of Israel was to gather enough bread for the day each of the first five days of the week, however, when they came to the sixth day they were to gather twice as much as they had done over the previous days. The reason and underlying principle for this is because on the seventh day there would be no bread from heaven provided unto the children of Israel. Despite and regardless whether or not the children of Israel went out to look for and gather bread on the Sabbath they would not find any, for the LORD ordained and appointed the seventh day to be a hallowed day of rest before and unto Him. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the absolutely wonderful reality that the LORD God of the Hebrews would provide bread from heaven for six days during the week, and for five of those days the children of Israel were to gather only what they needed for that day. The sixth day would be different from the others, for on the sixth day the children of Israel would gather twice as much, for they would be gathering for the Sabbath day as well. The Sabbath day was to be a day of rest for the children of Israel when they would do no work, nor any labor, but were to rest and give themselves afresh and anew to the living God. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that even though bread from heaven was only provided over the period of six days—bread from heaven was provided for the seventh day on the sixth day. It would be over six days the children of Israel would gather the provision of heaven for themselves and for their houses, however, it would be on the sixth day of the week when the living God would provide them twice as much provision, for the LORD would even provide for them in the place of rest. Think about and consider that reality for a moment, that even though the LORD God ordained a specific day of rest, He still provided for the children of Israel. Even though they were effectively prohibited from gathering bread on the seventh day, and were prohibited from doing any type of labor or work on that day. How absolutely astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that even in and even during a period of rest the living God would provide everything that was needed.

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think to myself how many men and women shy away from hallowing a Sabbath day during their week, and even from taking and allowing their bodies to rest—simply because they don’t believe in the provision of the living God. Would it shock and surprise you to hear that if you are one who would dare show disregard and disrespect for the seventh day of rest—what you are actually doing is showing and putting on display your lack of trust and faith in the living God. Think about the reality that the children of Israel had to trust in the provision of the living God for the seventh day, and had to trust in His word that He would provide for them twice as much on the sixth day to sustain the seventh. This principle is actually seen in a different way during the days of Joseph, for you will recall that Pharaoh had two dreams—each different in nature, but both with the same meaning. When Joseph provided the interpretation of the dream for Pharaoh, he declared unto him that there was coming a famine in the earth which would completely and utterly devastate the inhabitants thereof. What Joseph recommended and advised Pharaoh to do was to store up grain in abundance for the seven years prior to the seven years of famine, for the seven years of famine would be seven years of abundance and plenty. If Pharaoh and the Egyptians were wise stewards of what the LORD provided during the first seven years, then during the seven years of famine and dearth they would not be without and would not experience lack. Pause and think about the reality that for seven years prior to the famine the living God provided abundance and plenty, and He did so that men might be sustained during the seven years of famine and dearth. Similarly, when you think about and consider the first six days of the week the LORD God of the Hebrews provided those days for the children of Israel to engage themselves in work. What’s more, is that not only did the LORD God of the Hebrews provide the first six days to get work done, but He also provided those six days for them to get all the work done they needed to. Consider if you will the words which are written and found in the thirty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus beginning with the twelfth verse:

“And the LORD speak unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed. And He gave unto Moses, when HE had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:12-18).

With the words that are found within this portion of Scripture we again find the living God speaking through Moses unto the children of Israel and instructing them to honor and reverence the Sabbath day. I mentioned it before, but I would like to present you with the reality that if you are perhaps one who finds it difficult to honor and reverence the Sabbath and to keep it holy—I would dare suggest that either you find it difficult to trust in the living God to provide for and help you during the first six days of the week, or you find it difficult to allow your body to rest. Those children of Israel who dared go out on the Sabbath day to attempt to gather grain were undoubtedly individuals who did not trust in the living God to provide enough for them on the sixth day. There is not a doubt in my mind that those who went out on the Sabbath day to gather grain for themselves were individuals who did not trust in the word and promise of the LORD to provide for them for that day, and thus allow them to rest. Pause for a moment and consider the reality that if the LORD instructs and commands you to rest on the seventh day—don’t you think and don’t you believe that HE is going to provide for you during the first six days of the week? In the case of the bread from heaven—not only did the LORD provide bread enough for each day during the first five days of the week, but the LORD also provided twice as much on the sixth day for the children of Israel to sustain them during their period of rest. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about and consider the fact that the children of Israel were instructed and commanded to honor and reverence the Sabbath, and yet the LORD would undoubtedly have provided for them during the first six days in order that they might truly enjoy and experience the rest He ordained and appointed for them. THE LORD PROVIDES SO YOU CAN REST! Stop and think about that statement, for if you get and understand that statement—truly get it within the depths of your heart and soul—it will dramatically and radically alter the way you live your life and conduct yourself. There is not a doubt in my mind that the LORD will provide during the first six days of the week so you can rest on the Sabbath and enjoy that period of being refreshed. Please note and please understand that I don’t simply mean the LORD will provide monetarily during the first six days of the week, but also that the LORD can and will provide you with strength, with grace, and with mercy during this six days. Do we truly believe that the mercies of the LORD are new every morning, and that great is His faithfulness toward us? Do we truly believe that our God shall provide all our needs according to the riches of glory which are found in Christ Jesus, and that it is the will of the LORD for us to rest?

I cannot help but be absolutely and incredibly captivated with and by the fact that the living God can, will and does provide for us in order that we might enjoy and experience His rest, and might find refreshing for our souls. The living God can and will provide for us for six days—even as it pertains to strength and grace—in order that He might restore and refresh us on the seventh day. Let me ask you a very pointed and powerful question: When was the last time you allowed the LORD to restore your soul? When was the last time you truly allowed the LORD to so provide for you that you were actually able to enjoy rest for your soul and found restoration in His presence? Oh, this question brings me straight on a collision course with the words which the psalmist David wrote in the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, as well as that which our Lord Jesus the Christ spoke in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew. Consider if you will—first the words which the psalmist David wrote in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Psalms, and secondly, the words which our Lord Jesus spoke unto His disciples in the New Testament gospel of Matthew:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23:1-6).

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

If there is one thing which I feel absolutely compelled to declare within this writing, it’s that the LORD your God takes great pleasure and great delight in providing for you. With that being said, I would also like to emphatically declare that the LORD your God delights in providing for you that you might experience His rest, and that He might restore your soul. While on the surface this might seem like an absolutely wonderful truth to think about and consider, I would dare say that we must recognize that while it is true the Lord our God delights and desires to provide for us that we might enjoy and experience His rest, we must trust Him enough to faithfully provide for us and for our needs. The children of Israel not only received bread sufficient for the day each of the first five days during the week, but they also received bread sufficient for two days on the sixth day that they might actually enjoy the provision and rest of God simultaneously on the seventh day. How absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider the awesome reality that not only did the children of Israel get to enjoy the rest of the living God on the seventh day, but they got to enjoy the provision of God at the same time as rest. Oh, do you believe that the living God can in fact provide for you, and so provide for you that you might enjoy His provision and experience His rest? Furthermore, do you trust and believe in the living God to faithfully take care of you, and to so bless you during the first six days of the week that you might be able to enjoy the seventh day as a day of complete rest—not only for your physical bodies, but also for your souls. If you were being truly honest with yourself, and with the living God right now—when was the last time you truly experienced rest for your physical body? When was the last time you experienced the restoration of your soul as the LORD your God causes you to lie down in green pastures and leads you beside still waters? In all reality, I would dare say that the Sabbath day of rest was designed for man and was designed as such that man might himself experience a full and complete restoration of his physical body and soul. It is the desire and delight of the LORD to not only provide for you, but also provide for you that you might be able to experience and enjoy His rest. Perhaps the question that must be asked of you who would be reading this is are you afraid to actually honor and reverence the Sabbath day because you really don’t trust in the Lord your God to faithfully provide for you? Do you have a difficult time resting because you feel as though if you don’t constantly go your needs will go unmet? Do you feel that you are the sole means of providing for yourself, and therefore continually rush around—quite possibly even burning the candle at both ends?

One of the most distinct realities concerning the principle of the Sabbath is that it doesn’t merely reference the Sabbath day of the week, which is to be honored and reverenced as holy in the sight of the living God. If and as you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Leviticus you will find and discover that the principle of the Sabbath is directly linked and connected to a Sabbath of years—specifically, the seventh year. What makes the principle of the Sabbath year so incredibly distinctive, however, is the fact that it was ordinance which was provided unto the children of Israel while they were still in the wilderness before they even entered into the land of Canaan and took possession of it. It’s worth noting and pointing out that when it came to the laws and commands which the LORD God spoke unto the Hebrews through Moses, there were certain laws that wouldn’t be observed until they actually entered into the land which He swore on oath to their ancestors and forefathers. A FUTURE OBEDIENCE! One of the most distinctive features about that which we find in the laws which were given by the LORD unto the children of Israel was that there were commands and instructions which were given which wouldn’t actually be followed until they entered into the land and began occupying and dwelling in it. The principle of the Sabbath year was actually one such principle and law which would have its roots in the Sabbath day, however, it would touch an entire year rather than an entire day. While the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness they were to observe the Sabbath day of rest and were to do all their work during the first six days of the week. This would include gathering the bread from heaven which would be provided each day, with twice the amount of bread on the sixth day. The command given unto the children of Israel while they journeyed through the wilderness was to work during the first six days during the week, but on the seventh day to rest and honor the Sabbath. The law concerning the Sabbath year was similar in nature in that the LORD instructed and commanded the children of Israel to sow in their fields and prune their vineyards for six years, however, the seventh year they were to rest before the LORD their God and were to do no work during that seventh year. It would be during that seventh year when the land would lie fallow and would be at rest among the children of Israel with no labor or work being done among them in their midst. The law and principle of the Sabbath year was to be a year in which the children of Israel were to do absolutely no labor or work in the land in which they had been brought, and was to remain completely at rest.

With all of this being said, I would like to present you with the words and language which is found—not only in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, but also in the Old Testament book of Exodus. If you read both of these books you will find and discover that there are at least two instances when the LORD God of the Hebrews spoke through Moses concerning the seventh year, and this particular year being a year of rest—not only for the land, but also for the children of Israel as well. In all reality, I would dare say that if we are going to understand the year of Jubilee it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand the seventh year, for it is the seventh year that is a direct factor in and for this year of Jubilee. The Jubilee could not and would take place without and apart from the Sabbath year of rest, for the children of Israel were to count seven sevenths of years, which is a total of forty-nine years. That fiftieth year was to be a year of Jubilee, which itself had its own regulations and statutes concerning its role and function within and among the children of Israel. Consider if you will the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Exodus concerning the Sabbath year, as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Leviticus concerning this same Sabbath year:

“And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:10-12).

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in Mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. And the Sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, and for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land shall all the increase thereof be meat” (Leviticus 25:1-7).

FIFTY-TWO SABBATHS! SEVEN SHEMITAHS! A SABBATH REST FROM LABOR AND WORK! A SABBATH FROM SOWING AND GATHERING! As you move through this passage of scripture you will quickly encounter the absolutely wonderful reality that the principle of the sabbath DIDN’T merely apply to the seventh day of the week which the living God had consecrated and hallowed. The words which you find in these verses and chapters touch upon the reality that the principle of the sabbath directly applies and is intrinsically linked and connected to the sabbath year. It’s actually quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that while it is true there is and there was a sabbath day that was instituted and implemented by the living God—a day when the children of Israel were to rest from all their labor, all their work, all their endeavors, and the like—there was a sabbath year that was to be adhered to and followed by the children of Israel. What’s so absolutely astonishing about the principle of the sabbath as it pertains to the seventh year is that while it doesn’t necessarily touch resting from labor and work—it does nonetheless touch the absolutely remarkable reality of the fields and vineyards and oliveyards. What’s more, is that there are two distinctive realities concerning the principle of the sabbath—namely, that THR sabbath year would and could not take place until the children of Israel entered and came into the land which the living God swore unto their ancestors and forefathers. What’s more, is the law and principle of the sabbath year didn’t necessarily touch the children of Israel per se in that it was about them resting from their labor and work. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find that the sabbath year was directly and intrinsically linked to the land itself and centered upon the land resting and lying fallow in the earth. While the sabbath day was about the children of Israel resting from their labor and work—and quite possibly presenting themselves afresh and anew to the living God—the sabbath year was about presenting the whole land unto the living God afresh and anew. For six years the children of Israel were to sow in their fields and prune their oliveyards and vineyards, and during those six years they were permitted to reap the harvest from their labor and their works. When, however, it came to the sabbath year, there was a different law and principle that was in place—namely, that they could not sow in their fields, nor prune their vineyard, nor their oliveyards. The mystery and principle of the sabbath year was to directly touch and impact the land and how the children of Israel were to interact with the land itself.

Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that the sabbath year was such an integer also part of THR makeup of the children of Israel, for it would in fact touch the land which would be given unto them as an inheritance. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that although the living God brought them children of Israel into the land of Canaan and gave it to them as an inheritance, the law of the sabbath demonstrated something that each and every person among the children of Israel needed to acknowledge. It was true the living God was bringing the children of Israel were brought into the land of Canaan and were given the land as an inheritance and possession, however, the law of the sabbath year demonstrated and proved something quite remarkable when you truly take the time to think about and consider it. By implementing the law of the sabbath concerning the land—not only was the Lord declaring that the land belonged to Him, but He was also Lord over the land. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that the land of Israel might have been given unto the people and nation of Israel, yet if truth be told, we must acknowledge that the land did in fact belong to the Lord. What’s more, the land and everything that was in it belonged to the living God, and He could speak and declare anything He wanted concerning it. The living God asked for a tenth of what the children and people of Israel brought in; which demonstrated that the living God was Lord over their wealth and Lord over their possessions. Even more than this, the truth demonstrated and proved the tremendous reality that everything did in fact belong to the living God, and the children of Israel were merely stewards of His provision and blessing. By asking for the tithe to be brought unto the living God, the LORD God of the Hebrews was emphatically declaring that everything He gave and blessed them with belonged to Him, and they were stewards concerning what was brought unto and before Him. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for it has a direct impact on the sabbath year, and the land of Israel itself. If we are truly honest with ourselves and with the living God we muse acknowledge the fact that by implementing the sabbath year, the living God was demonstrating His authority and His sovereignty over the land. The sabbath year and obedience to it declared unto the living God that the land did in fact belong to the living God, and that the people of Israel were stewards of the land. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that by instituting the law of the sabbath, the living God was exercising authority and dominion over the land and declaring that the land did in fact belong to Him.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that the law of the sabbath was a powerful declaration of the living God that the land did in fact belong to Him, and that the children of Israel could not exercise their own authority, their own will and their own desire upon the land. It’s absolutely critical that we recognize and understand this reality, for it was true the living God was in fact bringing the children of Israel into the land which He swore on oath to their ancestors and would bring them into, however, the land itself belonged to Him. Observance of the sabbath demonstrated the wonderful reality that the land belonged to the Lord—and not only that the lane belonged to the Lord, but also that the provision and blessing of the land belonged to the living God. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for the children of Israel to allow the land to rest and to lie fallow for an entire year. Pause and think about the reality that for an entire year the children of us deal weren’t to sow anything within their vineyards, nor were they to prune their vineyards or oliveyards, but were to allow the land to remain fallow and at rest. With that being said we must also understand and recognize that the sabbath year not only demonstrated the authority and lordship of the living God over the land, and not only demonstrated that the land belonged to the living God, but it also demonstrated the reality that the children of Israel were considerate for the poor and the afflicted among them. If you read the words and instruction concerning the sabbath year you will find that the land was in fact to remain hallow and rest for an entire year, but the sabbath was designed for the poor within the land that they might be cared and provided for. While it was true that the sabbath year die in fact demonstrate the authority of the living God over the land, it also demonstrated the care, the concern and the compassion for the poor among the children of Israel. The sabbath year was to be a year that was meant to provide for the poor which were among the children of Israel that they might be cared and provided for. The sabbath year was meant for the poor and needy among the children of Israel that they might be cared for and might find provision in the midst of the land the living God brought the people into.

When and as you think about the sabbath year you will immediately be struck with and by the reality that the law concerning the sabbath was not only a law of inheritance, but it was also a law that was specifically for the inheritance. If you read the words found in the opening verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Leviticus you will quickly encounter the undeniable reality that it was a required obedience, yet it was a require obedience that touched the land into which the living God was bringing the children of Israel. The sabbath year and the law concerning it was a law that was intended on governing the children of Israel within the land and how they treated the land. It’s worth noting that this law concerning the sabbath and obedience to it demonstrated how the children of Israel moved and operated within the land, and how they agreed to treat the land into which the living God had brought them, for the land didn’t belong to them, but was an inheritance and possession given unto them by the living God. In all reality, I would dare say that the law of the sabbath year was a law that governed how the children of Israel treated the land into which they had been brought, as well as the poor which were among them. The truth and underlying reality concerning the sabbath was that it really had nothing to do with the people of Israel themselves per se, but had everything to do with how they treated and valued the land into which their God had brought them up into. The sabbath year touched upon the realm of the children of Israel and their care and concern for the poor among them, for if you read the law of the sabbath as it was written within the book of Exodus you will find the command concerning the sabbath touching the poor of the land that they might be provided for in the midst of the land. It was indeed true that the land of Canaan was a land flowing with milk and honey, and that the LORD God of the Hebrews brought them into a spacious land as their inheritance, however, the truth and ultimate reality concerning the land was that it belonged to the LORD, and as such was designed to be treated with honor and respect. HONORING THE INHERITANCE! RESPECTING THE POSSESSION! We know and understand the undeniable reality that the living God instructed His people to honor the sabbath and to reverence His sanctuary, however, I would dare say that what we find within the law of the sabbath was that the children of Israel were to honor and respect the inheritance and possession. It would be through the law of the sabbath the children of Israel would honor the principle of the sabbath, as well as honoring the land into which the living God had brought them into.

Upon reading the words and commands concerning the land of Israel into which the living God was bringing them, as well as the command concerning the sabbath year it is absolutely vital that we recognize that the law and command concerning the sabbath was a law and principle that touched the principle regarding the sabbath day—and not only the principle concerning the principle of the sabbath, but also the children of Israel honoring and showing respect unto the land. If we are truly willing to be honest concerning the sabbath we must acknowledge and understand that the law of the sabbath was a wonderful and powerful demonstration of the children of Israel honoring and respecting the land into which the living God had brought them, as well as honoring the poor and the needy among them. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that the children of Israel were instructed to honor the sabbath, and by doing so they would show honor and reverence to the living God by resting from their labor and work, but when it came to the sabbath year, the children of Israel demonstrated their honor for the Lord, demonstrated their honor of the land into which the Lord their God had brought them into, as well as their care and concern for the poor and needy among them. I still can’t help but wonder what it was like for the children of Israel to sit for an entire year and neither sow in their fields, nor prune their vineyards or oliveyards, and to allow the land to remain fallow and at rest. If there were some among the children of Israel who found it difficult to rest for one day out of the week—imagine how difficult it must have been for the children of Israel to allow the land to rest for an entire year and to do no work in their fields, nor in their vineyards or oliveyards. What’s more, is there undoubtedly would have been the question of how the children of Israel would have lived and survived during that seventh year if they could do no work or labor within the land. What’s truly great about the words and language we find within the twenty-fifth chapter is that if you begin reading with and from the eighteenth verse you will find an absolutely incredible promise given by the LORD unto the children of Israel concerning the sixth year in which they sowed and reaped within the land. Consider if you will the words which are found within this chapter beginning with the eighteenth verse, and consider the absolutely wonderful promise the living God gave unto the children of Israel concerning the sixth year just before they rested during the seventh year and allowed the land to rest:

“Wherefore ye shall do my statues, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat ye of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store” (Leviticus 25:18-22).

Pause for a moment and think about and consider the words which are found within this section of verses contained in the twenty-fifth chapter, for within these words the LORD acknowledges the doubt and questions that would most likely have entered into the hearts and minds of the children of Israel concerning the seventh and sabbath year. What is quite unique about what we find within this particular section of verses is we find the same principle which was connected to the manna and bread from heaven which was provided for the children of Israel while they journeyed and wandered in the wilderness. For the first five days the children of Israel would gather enough bread for that particular and that specific day, and they were to gather no more than what they needed, nor were they to gather less than what they needed. When it came to the sixth day, however, the children of Israel were to gather twice as much bread which was provided for them from heaven, for the seventh day was to be a day of rest from their labor and works. On the seventh and sabbath day the children of Israel would not only not find bread provided for them from heaven, but if they thought within themselves they could go out on the sabbath day and gather bread on the seventh day, they would be disappointed when they found that there was no bread. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many of the children of Israel did not honor the word and command of the LORD concerning the sixth day and failed to gather enough bread for the sixth and seventh days. Imagine what it would have been like for those who did not honor the word and command of the living God, and went out on the sabbath day to gather bread unto and for themselves, and yet did not and could not find any. Was it possible that there were some who failed to honor the word and command of the living God who perhaps went hungry on the sabbath day because they failed to honor the word and command of the living God? We aren’t at all sure if this was the case, but what we can be absolutely certain of is that when we read the words found concerning the law of the sabbath and the provision of bread from heaven, the living God would provide for them twice as much bread on the sixth day, which would be sufficient for them to sustain on and during the seventh day. The principle and law we find in the wilderness concerning the sabbath and the provision of bread from heaven is the same principle we find concerning the law of the sabbath year, for it would be that in the sixth year the LORD God of the Hebrews would provide three times as much abundance and increase upon their harvest that what they would reap and gather would not only be enough to sustain them during the sixth year, but it would also sustain them during the seventh year, and even the eighth year. The fruit they would gather during the eighth year would be fruit they would still be eating when and as they entered into the ninth year and began sowing and reaping and gathering in that year.

I still can’t escape the absolutely astonishing and amazing reality that the living God did in fact address the doubt and questions which perhaps crept into the hearts of the children of Israel concerning the seventh year and what they would eat during that seventh year. They knew that on the sixth day the living God provided for them twice as much bread as on the previous five days in order that they might have enough bread unto themselves for the seventh day. The same principle and law we find governing the provision of manna from heaven and the same principle we find governing the sabbath day was the same rule and principle we find governing the seventh year and the provision of the living God during the sixth year. We must recognize and acknowledge and consider the absolutely tremendous and wonderful reality that during the sixth year the children of Israel would gather three times as much fruit and food within the land that it would sustain them during the seventh year, it would sustain them during the eighth year, and it would even still sustain them during the sixth year. If you think about—the children of Israel would have gathered during the sixth year enough fruit and food to sustain them during the sixth year, but in addition to the provision for the sixth year, the LORD would also provide above and beyond what they could ask or imagine, for the LORD would provide for them three times as much in order to sustain them during the seventh and eighth years. What’s more, is that the LORD also emphatically declared unto the children of Israel that they would still be eating of the old fruit while they were sowing and gathering new fruit and new food unto themselves. This takes on a whole new meaning when you think about and consider the language that is found within this passage of Scripture, for the LORD emphatically declared that He would command His blessing upon His people during the sixth year, and that it would be during the sixth year when the children of Israel would gather and yield three times the blessing which they would normally bring in within a year. The children of Israel would sow and reap during the sixth year, and the living God would command such a blessing upon the sixth year that it would not only be enough to sustain them during the sixth year, but it would also be enough to sustain them during the sabbath and seventh year, and would even sustain them during the eighth year. Not only this, but as it pertains to the sabbath year, the children of Israel would still be eating of the old fruit during the ninth year while they were gathering fruit from that current year. EATING OF THE OLD FRUIT WHILE GATHERING THE NEW FRUIT! THE COMMANDMENT OF BLESSING! WHEN GOD COMMANDS HIS BLESSING UPON YOU! Perhaps the single greatest principle we must recognize and understand concerning the sabbath year and the blessing that would be commanded upon it was that it was directly linked and connected to their obedience and their keeping of the commandments of the living God. The eighteenth verse begins and opens with the living God declaring and speaking unto them concerning their doing His statutes, and keeping His judgments, and doing them, and then not only declares that they would dwell in the land in safety, but the land would yield its fruit, and they would eat their fill of the fruit of the land.

That which is written and that which is found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus is actually quite astonishing and quite remarkable when you take the time to think about it, for what begins and opens with the living God issuing a command concerning the seventh and sabbath year, the living God also implemented another law that would be directly linked and directly impacted by the seventh or sabbath year. While the first seven verses of the twenty-fifth chapter speak to and describe the seventh and sabbath year which the children of Israel were to observe, the eighth verse and beyond speaks to the principle of the Jubilee, which would have at its very core and foundation the seventh or sabbath year. If you begin reading with and from the eighth verse you will find that the children of Israel—upon entering into the land—were to number seven sabbaths of year unto themselves, seven times seven years with the space of them being forty-nine years. On the tenth day of the seventh month—on the day of Atonement—the children of Israel were to sound a trumpet throughout all their land during the fiftieth year, and it would be during that fiftieth year when liberty would be proclaimed throughout all the land. It is absolutely critical and necessary that we think about and consider this absolutely wonderful reality, for to do so is to come face to face with an absolutely wonderful and critical juncture within the history of the children of Israel in the midst of the land into which the living God had brought them. The fiftieth year would be a year of Jubilee unto the children of Israel, and it was to be a year when the children of Israel were to experience a restoration of inheritance, as well as a release of captivity. THE RESTORATION OF INHERITANCE AND THE RELEASE OF CAPTIVITY! Perhaps the most astonishing and remarkable reality concerning the year of Jubilee was that it was directly linked and impacted by the Shemitah or sabbath year, and it would be in the year of Jubilee when restoration and release would be published within and throughout the land. What’s more, is that as you read these words you will find the living God not only speaking of restoration, and not only speaking of release, but you will also find the living God speaking of returning. It would be during the year of Jubilee that each man would return unto their possession if they had been removed from the possession and if they perhaps had not dwelt within it for nearly half a century. Pause and think about this reality for a moment, for the mystery surrounding the Jubilee was that the children of Israel were to here a proclamation of liberty among them in the midst of the land, and it would be that proclamation of liberty that would bring the people to the place where they would and could return unto their possession, and even unto their family. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many families were dramatically changed and transformed during the year of Jubilee as men and women returned unto their family after perhaps being away and apart from them for so long. How many men and women had perhaps spent a considerable amount of time away from their families and away from their loved ones, and yet during the year of Jubilee it was afforded unto them to return unto their families, and even unto their inheritance.

I can’t help but be reminded of the song “Days of Elijah,” for within this song we find in the chorus a wonderful and powerful declaration that is made by those who choose to sing its words. The chorus of this song is as follows: “Behold he comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun, at the trumpet call. So lift your voice, it’s the year of Jubilee, and out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.” I sit here this morning and I can’t help but be absolutely and wonderfully gripped with and by the fact that when speaking concerning the year of Jubilee we are speaking of an entire year that followed a sabbath year of rest when rest would be followed by restoration, and when rest would be followed by returning, and when restoration would be followed by releasing. It is absolutely wonderful to think about and consider that you cannot have restoration without “rest,” for restoration and restore has at the very heart and core of it the principle and concept of rest. This is especially strong and inedible when you think about and consider it in light of what we find concerning the year of Jubilee. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many men and women might very well have looked forward to the year of Jubille, for it would be in the year of Jubilee when the people living in the land would hear the sound of restoration and would hear the sound of returning and release as captives were set free, as servants were set free, and as men and women returned unto their possession and families. Oh I can’t help but think about that year of Jubilee which would also coincidentally be an eighth year in which the children of Israel would still be living off the fruit which they gathered during that previous sixth year. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that during the year of Jubilee—not only would there be the sound of liberty within the land, but there would also be within the land a restoration of inheritance and possession, a returning unto family and possession, and even a release of the captives and servants. What’s more, is that during that year there would be no sowing or reaping, for that year would be holy and sacred unto the children of Israel as they would still be living off fruit that was reaped and harvested two years earlier. We must remember and recognize that during the year of Jubilee the children of Israel would have already spent an entire year without sowing and reaping, for the prior year was before and unto them a sabbath year of rest as the land lied fallow and at rest in the midst of the land. I am completely and utterly fascinated by the year of Jubilee, for it is what we find in the year of Jubilee that we find a wonderful and powerful liberty that would be manifested among the children of Israel after an entire year of sabbath rest for the land. What’s more, is that during that year of Jubilee there would be a wonderful and powerful sense of liberty as men and women would experience release from captivity, release from debt, a restoration of possession and inheritance, and even a return unto family and possession. As I bring this writing to a close I would like to leave you with the words which are found within the sixty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, for the opening verses has the language of Jubilee contained therein. I would also like to leave you with the interpretation of this passage which was found within the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke, for within it we find that Jesus the Christ is in fact the Jubilee and that when we speak of Jubilee we in fact speak of Jesus:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. And they shall. Build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall. Call you the Ministers of our God” (Isaiah 61;1-6).

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the LORD. And He closed the book, and he gave it again to the ministers and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:14-21).

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