Leviticus 25:3-4, New Living Translation
“For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year.”
I like to watch ‘Country file’ on the television. It’s a programme about farming and country life in the UK. Recently there was an episode about the huge problems being caused by an herbicide resistant weed called ‘Black Grass’. They explained how, since the invention of herbicides, the old methods of farming, which included crop rotation and fallowing (leaving a field unplanted every few years) had been abandoned. Initially production had increased, and therefore income too. However, now this particular weed has become resistant to the herbicides, and production and income are being lost.
One farmer had to spray his whole crop in one vast field (which represented many thousands of loaves of bread) and kill the crop along with the weeds, in the hope of producing a weed-free crop next year. They interviewed a number of scientists who are working on the problem. At least one of them said that one solution would be to go back to the old methods, including fallowing.
It made me think of today’s passage and I hurried off to look it up again. God gave very clear and precise instructions about growing crops, and said that the land should have a Sabbath rest every seven years. But the thing that struck me most was the passage where it says: ‘You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years’ (Leviticus 25:20-21).
It’s about trusting God, as it always is. He promised that if we obeyed Him in this He would provide enough food in the sixth year to last through to harvest in the eighth year.
I love science and education. I love to learn about how things work and grow, and are made. To me it’s learning more about what God already knows, so that we can praise Him and use things wisely and well. It seems sometimes that, in the world, we think once we know things we can overrule God and do it our own way. Look at another example of what has happened since we invented contraception. People think they no longer need to heed God’s instructions and wait until they are married to have a sexual relationship.
Sometimes the things God asks us to do seem bizarre to our modern thinking, things such as leaving fields fallow, waiting till we are married to have a sexual relationship and then being faithful in it, and forgiving people who don’t deserve it. I’m sure you can think of others. What is the point in doing these things? Well we may not understand why. Actually we don’t know everything, but God promises us His blessing if we obey these things. The opposite is also true in that we miss God’s blessing if we don’t.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times when I’ve thought that I know better than You, and that modern research and thinking overrules what You’ve already said. Thank You for the amazing way that You made the world and everything in it. I want to be obedient to You, Lord. Please help me by Your Holy Spirit. Amen.