Lenten Devotional – March 30, 2023

Scripture: Leviticus 25:1-7
By Michaela Eskew
“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord.’” Leviticus 25: 2

God was so serious about sabbath that he even made it a law that the land would get a year off from being planted and harvested. This, of course, meant that every year farmers would have an entire year off too. They were not allowed to pick or harvest anything. People were only allowed to gather food off the ground or from untended vines as their ancestors had once gathered from the wilderness. This seems particularly strict, but any good farmer knows that land needs time to rest if it is to continue to keep growing good food. Soil, just like us, cannot continue to give and give and give without also receiving. Soil needs to be left alone so that it can regain its nutrients from the earth.

God knew this about the earth long before us because God made the earth and all that is in it. God built rest into our world; it is us that try to go against that plan. God teaches us through plots of land that we need rest in our lives. And we don’t just need rest, we also need to remember to rely on God. During the Sabbath year in Israel, the people needed to trust that God’s abounding creation would give them enough food to last them a whole year. That is a lot of trust to put into God, but it’s a big reason that we have Sabbath. Sabbath is a reminder of who made us and who truly sustains us. In Sabbath we are not just supposed to rest, we are supposed to worship God. We are supposed to give praise to the God who watches over us as we sleep and feeds us when we rest.

What does rest look like to you? Does it include receiving back some of the nutrients that you have given all week? Does it include worship?

Prayer: Lord, you are our sustainer and redeemer. Restore in us the nutrients we need to get through this day and this week, physically but also spiritually. Amen.

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