Introductory Note: I am not sure why we are skipping Leviticus 24 except that it’s the passage that says “an eye for eye, a tooth for tooth”, which if there’s any passage in Scripture more misunderstood, it’s this one; so why BSF if shying away from it, I don’t know. If you have a chance, read it. It’s very short and since it is often quoted, it’s good to know.
Summary of passage: The Lord decrees to Moses that once they enter the Promised Land, the land is to be sown for 6 years and then have a year of rest and all that is yielded in that year of rest belongs to the people.
3a) When they enter the Promised Land
b) For 6 years, the Israelites are to sow their fields but he seventh year is to be a year of rest where no crops are sown or harvested and whatever the land yields during the seventh year will be food for the people and their animals.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Not sure. I think they would have been scared because they would have to be totally dependent on God to provide food for that year. The people however would have been free to rest and perhaps do other things for God’s glory in all that spare time they would have.
4a) Personal Question. My answer: The 7th year was also a year for canceling debts, freeing slaves, and giving generously to the poor. I think the year was to strengthen the faith of God’s people and free up time to think more about others instead of concentrating on survival.
b) They had to be totally dependent on God to provide all their food during the six years and then some to last for the seventh year.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Depending on God for a whole year I think is a lot different than one day a week so in my opinion this question is a bit of a stretch. For me, my answer is not sure. Increasing our faith in God’s provision for us should not be relegated to one day a week but should be constantly every day of the year. Sundays are just like every other day for me: being with God, reading His word, praying, living His example, and spreading His light. If I do this, then my faith in His provision can’t help but grow.
Conclusions: This passage could have been covered with just one question, three parts, instead of two questions, six parts. I think we all got the point: rely on God for your provision. Period.
End Notes: Deuteronomy 31:9-13 speaks of in this year how the people will assemble to listen and learn God’s laws. Hence, this year was to allow time for the Israelites to study and learn God’s laws even deeper and for the children to know God’s laws.
This also demonstrated how the land belonged to God, not the people, and how God dictated its use. It was a testimony of dependence on God. The people didn’t just say they depended on God; they showed they did.
It’s also what many farmers do today to allow the nutrients to return to the soil or they do this with crop rotation as well.
Leviticus 26:3 again tells the people to obey God’s laws. Yet we learn in 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 that the Israelites did not allow the land to lay fallow and thus God forced them to allow the land to lay fallow when they were carried off into captivity by the Babylonians.
The Israelites have found ways around this law. They have rented out their land and allowed Gentiles to farm it for that year and they took a share as payment, thus circumnavigating the law. However, I don’t think God sees it this way.