The Sabbatical Year

And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. Exodus 23:10‭-‬11 KJV

A sabbatical year in ancient Jewish custom came around every seven years. It is called a Shmita year in Hebrew. It was a time to honour God by allowing the land to remain uncultivated for a period of at least one year. During the period, slaves were given their liberty and debts were cancelled. It was a season of release for a fresh start. Today, the sabbatical year is still practiced among the academics in the universities and other higher institutions. Its a period of grace granted Professors and Chief lecturers to do things beyond their professional endeavours. This law has an extended version in Leviticus 25. The weekly Sabbath and the yearly Sabbath are mentioned as they relate to the provisions for the poor. God was committed to a triple increase in the sixth year to compensate for the seventh. Pulpit commentary adds that the year was the most solemn period of calling men to self examination, repentance and formation of holy habits. For both men and the land, when overworked, the result will be exhaustion. Renewing our strength with chemicals like energy drinks or fertilizers for the land are not true renewals. Here is a New Testament practice by Jesus: Luke 5:16. He used to withdraw from people, activities, and ministry to be alone with his father. I could give you several reasons to get alone with God. You need that clarity to continue. Take a Sabbath.

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