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News for Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunday School Lesson - Bible Studies for Life
Aug. 31: Our Work With Creation
By Gene Nelson
pastor, Russellville Baptist, Russellville

Focal Passage: Leviticus 25:1-7

In the early 1940s Woody Guthrie wrote a song entitled “This Land is Your Land.” 


I remember it being sung around the July 4th holiday about every year. The song described the beauty of the land in which we live, and it conveyed the concept that this land belonged to everyone. It is a beautiful thought, but I am not sure it is very biblical! Truth is that the land of this nation, and all other nations does not belong to us, it all belongs to God. He has entrusted us with the care and management of the land, but He is the Creator and Owner! It is this reality that God shares in the selected text.

In these verses God lays out His design for the care of His land. He declares that every seventh year the land must experience a Sabbath Rest! This was intended to be a full year without the sowing, tending, and harvesting of crops. Not only was the Sabbath rest beneficial for the land, as it provided opportunity for the soil to renew needed nutrients, but it was also beneficial for the people. It provided for them the opportunity to pause from their labors, and reflect upon God’s blessing of provision as this was to be a Sabbath “to the Lord.” I am a firm believer that Sunday afternoons are created by God for us to enjoy an afternoon nap! I take advantage of a Sabbath rest every opportunity I get! We all need down time. We need time to recharge our batteries and renew our energies. There were occasions when Jesus would depart from the crowd to a solitary place. There would be occasions when He went alone to pray. If our Savior needed rest, so do we!

Attached to the command for a Sabbath rest was a promise. God promised provision despite their labor. They had to trust God that they would not starve to death during the year of Sabbath rest. God promised that the land would produce enough on its own, and they did not have to toil and sweat! It required the people to trust that God knew what He was doing. There are many people today who take matters in their own hands when God simply says “trust me.” We pray and ask God to take control, then, we begin searching for solutions and doing Google searches for ideas. We will find that God will provide for His own, if we will practice what we preach — faith.

Trust and faith require one other thing — obedience! It is interesting to note that there is no evidence that the Jewish people ever celebrated the Sabbath year! In fact, the Bible indicates that they did not observe it at all. Because of their disobedience, God sent Israel into Babylonian exile for 70 years “to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths” (II Chronicles 36:21). The children of Israel chose not to obey the command of the Lord, and it cost them the strength of the land, and the blessing of God. How often do God’s people today miss the blessing of God’s provision because they choose not to take God at His Word? It was not logical that taking a year off from labor would produce a crop. However, obedience is not always logical! It will push us out of our comfort zones. Yet, it is in these occasions that we experience God the most. Let us praise God that He is greater than our logic, and that He is always right!

Nelson is pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville.

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