3For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.” Leviticus 25:3-5 (NIV)

The twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus lays out a grand plan for rest throughout Israel. One in every seven years was a sabbath year. Observing the sabbath year was a tangible way for the Israelites to show God they depended on Him and trusted Him to provide everything from food to funds.

During the sabbath year, the fields rested. No grain grew, and no vines were cut back. It’s the same principle we see today when farmers rest an area or rotate crops: The land goes quiet as the nutrients are replenished deep beneath the ground.

Although no one grew, sold or produced food, people still needed to put dinner on the table. Hunger was hunger regardless of who you were or where you lived. Perhaps part of the lesson was Israel learning to trust God to provide. A bigger lesson: compassion for those who struggle with food insecurity, not just during the sabbath year but daily.

If you were called to give up something for an entire year that was significant to your survival, would you have 365 days’ worth of faith to see it through? Would you trust God to meet your needs?

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