Reading Through the Bible, Monday, February 7. Leviticus 24-26

Rest.

We all need it.

The Sabbath legislations provided it to ancient Israel, and yet, there may be no laws Israel ignored more than these.

One day a week was a holiday.  No work was done on that day.  It provided rest for merchant and farmer, slave and free, male and female.  Even the animals were guaranteed a day of rest.  Once every seven years, even the land was provided rest.  In an agrarian economy to take a year off from planting and harvesting was a serious matter, but Israel was commanded to do it, and make provisions for it the other six years.  Every fifty years, everyone took two years off.  The first was the sabbath year, the second was the Jubilee year.  In the Jubilee year, all debts were cancelled, and all property returned to its original owners.

God never intended his people be slaves – to anyone.  There is no virtue in working 24/7, it only means you have become a slave.  Furthermore, as an employer, God does not intend His people treat others as slaves.  The Sabbath laws applied even to non-Israelites.  Taking time off, and making it regular, shows that we trust the Lord to provide.  Though God calls us to work, our success and profit are not “up to us.”  God gives the increase.  Finally, nothing belongs to us forever.  Everything belongs to God.  Israel lived with the idea that in everyone’s lifetime, all they had accumulated would be returned to those from whom it had been acquired.  These lessons reflect God’s intent for all who claim to belong to Him.