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Hard work and Rest the reasons why

21 Hard work and Rest the reasons why


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. 

Leviticus 25:3-4 


Wow, can you imagine what it would be like to take one year off every seven? It’s hard enough to take a yearly vacation, let alone a whole year. Heck, I know many people who are challenged taking one day a week off. 

But just imagine how blissful a day without doing anything would feel like. Close your eyes and visualize that heaven. Now take it a step further and envision a whole year. Can you feel how rested, refreshed, eager you would be to do something – anything. You would feel strong, healthy, totally relaxed like you were in nirvana.

You can see why God wanted that for his people. Wait, aren’t you one of his people?

There is much more than meets the eye in this command.

Matthew Henry wrote, “All labour was to cease in the seventh year, as much as daily labour on the seventh day. These statues tell us to beware of covetousness, for a man's life consists not in the abundance of his possessions. We are to exercise willing dependence on God's providence for our support; to consider ourselves the Lord's tenants or stewards, and to use our possessions accordingly. This year of rest typified the spiritual rest which all believers enter through Christ. Through Him we are eased of the burden of worldly care and labour, both being sanctified and sweetened to us; and we are enabled and encouraged to live by faith.”

Now that is powerful stuff. Beware of covetousness. Have you ever been guilty of covetousness, the eager or excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions?  I think we all have. Most of us live a life full of excess and ease. Now there is nothing wrong with living a comfortable life, but Jesus commanded us to take care of one another. By having an inordinate desire for wealth or envying another’s possessions, we go over the line of depending on God’s providence. That is why we share what we have, whatever that amount is.

But I digress, the key lesson here is to avoid materialism, love of possessions, and instead rely on God because it is through Him that we have all things. It is not through our works but through His grace.

David Guzik believes that observing the sabbath year was also a powerful testimony of dependence on God. Israel declared their belief that God would meet their needs. This was truly living by faith, and God wanted His people to live to trust Him.

Matthew Poole gave an interesting additional reason for the sabbath year. He suggested that one of the reasons for the Sabbath year was to put everyone in Israel in the same place as the poor of the land, who had to simply trust that God would provide in unlikely circumstances. This would give them compassion for the poor, who had to live that way every year.

Stop for a second you say, wasn’t Leviticus written around 1446 BC and basically a book of laws that were intended for the Israelites?  Yes, it was. But it is intended for all God’s people, all the time. As Chuck Swindoll writes, “If you are His child, then He wants you to reflect His character. He is sanctifying you much like He did the nation of Israel. Does your life echo His? In what ways are you growing more like Christ?”

Let’s look at the practical aspect of the law. Albert Barnes said it best when he wrote,

“The great material advantage of the institution must have been the increased fertility of the soil from its lying fallow one year out of seven, at a time when neither the rotation of crops nor the art of manuring was understood. It must also have kept up a salutary habit of the economy in the storing of grain. Compare Genesis 41:48-56. Its great spiritual lesson was that there was no such thing as absolute ownership in the land vested in any man, that the soil was the property of Yahweh, that it was to be held in trust for Him, and not to be abused by overworking, but to be made the most of for the good of every creature which dwelt upon it.”

This sabbath of rest for the land certainly drives home the fact, that God wants us to set aside a time for nothing but worshipping Him and rest for our body. This also lets us know that God has a schedule that we must abide by. Rest is on that schedule!


What are some of the benefits of physical rest?

  1. It provides time for your body to repair itself. It helps the tissue to become stronger by providing time to heal and grow.
  2. Learning and processing your memories happen when your mind is sleeping.
  3. It drastically reduces stress and improves your concentration.
  4. Just like batteries your cells need to get recharged. Overworking them leads to adrenal exhaustion and hormonal imbalance.
  5. Studies have shown that it reduces inflammation and heart disease.
  6. Not only does it improve performance, but it greatly aids in sleep.
  7. Your immune system gets that extra boost.
  8. Oddly enough, getting the proper rest helps you with improved weight control.
  9. When you rest your blood glucose drops – studies have shown the lack of rest is a factor in prediabetes.
  10. Finally, it slows your heart rate, lessens your blood pressure, and decreases cortisol levels.

Here are some mental benefits to rest.

  1. During rest and relaxation is when we get most of our bursts of inspiration.
  2. Rest provides for greater happiness and well-being.
  3. It is a major stress reducer.
  4. Rest improves short term memory.
  5. It improves your ability to problem solve and be creative.

It is important that you do not equate resting and relaxation with idleness and laziness! Every battery needs recharging! Your body and mind are electrical impulses and the flow of energy – it needs replenishment and regular maintenance.

Chuck Groot is an author, speaker, teacher. His love of God has spanned over 6 decades and he finds the more he studies the Bible, the less he knows, the more he succeeds the more dependant on God he becomes, and that there is nothing outside of loving God our Father, and being loved in return.


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