Sabbath Rest

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Leviticus 25:1-7

But in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord. (v. 4)

Even in our “hot-n-now” society, most of us are used to thinking of a weekly Sabbath – a day of rest from our usual labors. With the increasingly fast pace of life, we certainly feel the need for time to slow down.

This chapter of Leviticus reminds us that in addition to the seventh day, in God’s prescription for the good life there ought also be a seventh year. And during this sabbatical year the land must be rested. Give the land some time off.

The purpose of these commands is clear: if God’s people follow these statutes, then they will flourish. The land will be productive. The trees will be fruitful. There will be peace. Shalom will reign (Lev. 26:3-6).

We don’t normally connect keeping the Torah with agricultural productivity. Few of us any more grow our own food. But the underlying principle here contains much wisdom. We all need rest. Short times of sabbath rest on a regular basis and longer times less frequently are part of wise living. And the land and animals under our care also need rest. So that all will go well with us. So that we will flourish.


God of the sabbath, quiet our lives and give us and the land the rest we need.