On Sunday, June 16, 2019, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Leviticus 25.1-7:

 

Leviticus 25:1 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female mercy and for your hired worker and the sojourner who lives with you, 7 and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: all its yield shall be for food.

 

From these verses, we pursued this Big Idea and points:

 

Big Picture Question:  Do We Work to Rest or Rest to Work?

 

Rest

Grow

Mercy

 

Rest

 

Leviticus 25:1 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.

 

God commanded that the promised land itself would take a rest every seventh year.  The people were not allowed to work the land at all.  They were going to rest but true rest required a great trst in God that they would even have enough food to eat.  Rest requires faith

 

Grow

 

5 You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.

 

Despite the jubilee being a time of rest, God promised that the land would continue to grow.  God would supernaturally, by His hand, provide for his people.  It was a solemn, intentional time of rest and trust.

 

Mercy

 

6 The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female servants and for your hired worker and the sojourner who lives with you, 7 and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: all its yield shall be for food.

 

Not only was God going to provide to the needs of His people, He promised to provide for the servants and even the strangers (sojourners) in their midst.  Faithfully obeying in God and His command to rest always brings blessings.

 

How does this affect Evident Grace?  Let’s look at each point:

 

Rest

 

Pastor Gordon Duncan and his family are going to take a 6 week sabbatical.  Pastor Duncan says, “First, we both need a rest.  I need a rest from service, and the church needs a rest from my voice.   A time away will renew my energy and give me new insight on leading the church.  My time away will also enable the church to enjoy the leadership of the elders and the insight of guest preachers.   It will make my return to the pulpit something that I and the church anticipates and enjoys.”

 

Growth

 

Second, we trust God that we both are going to grow just as the land continued even without active cultivation.  For me, I will have a focused time of study and reflection that day to day ministry doesn’t typically afford me.  My family will receive more from me than I typically and able to offer.   And while the (eg)Groups will not meeting for study, they will continue to meet for fellowship. 

 

Mercy

 

Third, the time apart will increase our mercy towards each other just as debts were forgiven in the Jubilee. 

 

To enable these things, Pastor Gordon is going to email the church a 40 day Prayer Guide for everyone to follow.  We will all be praying for each other.  We will be praying for the church.  We will actively be resting together so that when we return, we will be energized and rest to trust God in what He is doing.

 

What will this look like when we begin late Summer and Fall? We are going to trust the promises that God gave His people.

 

Leviticus 25.18 “Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely. 19 The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and dwell in it securely. 20 And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ 21 I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years. 22 When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating some of the old crop; you shall eat the old until the ninth year, when its crop arrives.

 

Let’s learn from Israel.  They never did this.

 

Leviticus 26:23-24, 32-35, 43 tell us plainly that one of the main reasons Israel went into captivity was for not letting the land rest.

 

Jeremiah 34:8-17 informs us that because Israel reneged and did not free their Hebrew servants, God would proclaim “liberty” unto these cruel taskmasters to the sword, pestilence, famine and captivity.

 

II Chronicles 36:14-21 describes how Judah mocked God’s prophets and so were carried away captive to Babylon, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. Israel rested seventy years before the Jews returned from captivity.

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