Exodus 16:4-5, 22-30; Leviticus 25:3-7. 20-22; 26:14-15, 34-35; 2 Chronicles 36:20-21; Isaiah 37:30-31
In studying the old testament, one time cycle that keeps jumping out at me relates to how and when God provided for His children.
- First thing to note is that God had daily and yearly cycles, and the time marks in these cycles are the weekly and 7-year sabbaths.
- At the basic level, God provides daily for the needs of His children and even in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said we should pray “give us this day our DAILY bread”. This cycle was best exemplified during the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness, where God provided them with manna daily. This manna was sufficient only for the day’s needs and it got rotten by the following day. But God instructed them to gather a double portion on the 6th day which would last them for both the 6th and 7th day as He didn’t want them working on the Sabbath as commanded.
- This concept from the daily level builds up up to the yearly level. In Leviticus, the foundation is spelt out: “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.’ And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest. Leviticus 25:3-4, 20-22 NKJV
- I found two examples where God enforced the concept of the land having its sabbath: 1) when the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon, it was recorded at end of 2 Chr that they were to be in captivity for 70yrs because the land had not kept its sabbaths. This curse for disobeying God was laid out in Lev 26:34-35. 2) God reminded King Hezekiah of this concept in Isaiah 37:30-31, as a sign to him that what God had said about his tormentor, King Sennacherib of Assyria, was true and would happen.
In summary: there is a time cycle attached to how/when God provides for His children, which is both daily and yearly. Both are linked to a weekly and 7-yearly sabbath cycle. On the 6th day, provision is enough to last two days (days 6 & 7); and in the 6th year, provision is enough to last three years (years 6, 7 and 8). I just wanted to highlight this as I believe these cycles were established in time, by God, for His children i.e. anyone who believes in Him today.
The logical next question is so what does this mean for me today? 🤷🏾♂️ We are certainly still required to keep the weekly Sabbath, following the example of Jesus and the apostles (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, in God’s house, not working, but resting – see my previous notes), and as stated in the commandments (NB: see Sabbath promises in Is 56:2, vs. -7, and Is 58:13-14). God also still provides for us on a daily basis and asks us not to worry about the future. For the 7-yearly sabbaths, these were linked with festivals that have their significance fulfilled at the death of Christ. Nevertheless, this still remains a cycle in time that God established and it is possible that He may still use these cycles in working with His children, perhaps through our wilderness periods for example. There were also other good social and economic principles attached with them, such as forgiveness, restitution of property etc. 🤓🙏🏾