Besides the liberty celebration we looked at last week, Jubilee also is a reflection of Sabbath. It is a sabbatical year and follows a sabbatical year.
Sabbath, the seventh day, is a day to rest from our work. It is a weekly reminder that no matter how much we do, it is never going to be enough. We need to stop and acknowledge God. On an earthly level, there will always be more to do. Our work is never done. It reminds us of our inadequacy. On a spiritual level, there is nothing we can do to work or earn our salvation. We must trust in God. By stopping our work, we trust that He will provide. In the wilderness, the Israelites were instructed to collect manna for each day – but God provided enough for two days just before Sabbath.
This spiritual cycle applied to all creation. God instructed sabbatical years to be observed for the land as well. The land was rested on the seventh year. This is an act of faith. Nothing is harvested during the year and since nothing is planted either, the following year’s crop is a picture of trust. It’s up to God to provide. When there is obedience, God’s faithfulness is evident. His grace provides a bounty that wasn’t earned.
Just as the land is rested (through faith), we are to rest as well. It’s how God designed us. So we diligently do the work He has called us to and trust Him to complete all that is beyond our ability. The principles in Sabbath aren’t against work, just a reminder not to rely on our own results. I need to check my own attitude at times in respect to Sabbath. I don’t earn a day of rest by working hard and getting things done in six days (it’s not about what I accomplished). But rather my work a joyful response to God’s invitation to participate in what He has given me to do.
For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Leviticus 25:3-5