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Exodus 23:10-13, Sabbatical Year and Sabbath

Saturday, June 9

Farmer God

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

let the land rest

The Israelites were wandering the wilderness for what would become a 40-year nomadic journey. God had sent manna and quail for food, but nobody can survive on manna and quail for 40 years. The people, having been slaves and farm workers in Egypt, knew how to plant, grow, and tend to crops. Planting and harvesting became part of their routine.

God knew something they didn't. Rest is essential for all of God's creation. Not only for the people and the animals, but for the land, too. God commanded that the people let the land rest every seven years. Today, science has determined that crop rotation (the practice of moving different types of plants to different parts of the soil) helps balance soil fertility (you let the soil rest so you don't deplete all the same nutrients year after year) and prevents plant-killing diseases and pests. Who knew God was such a green thumb? (Oh, wait... everybody.)

Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 23:10-13

For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your homeborn slave and the resident alien may be refreshed. Be attentive to all that I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.