I thought Sunday was a good day to talk about the end of the shemittah, which is in on Sunday, September 13, 2015. It is the end of a seven year cycle at given in Deuteronomy 15:1-2. Continue reading
It’s about to begin – the seventh year; the Sabbath year; the year of the release.
The next Shemitah year on the biblical calendar begins Sept. 25, 2014 – Rosh Hashanah, the civil new year.
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. Lev 25:4
Modern Israel hasn’t paid much attention to this ancient commandment – until recently.
More and more farmers and consumers are expressing concern about fruits and vegetable intentionally grown and harvested in the seventh year – also known as the Shemitah year, or Sabbath year.
Now the Israeli government and Jewish religious leaders are hoping to work together to reinstate the practice.
The new Shemitah budget will go to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which intends to use a portion of the funds for promotional materials, and educational assistance for farmers wishing to honor the commandment.
Another small portion of the budget will be used for the special ceremony that marks the end of the Shemitah year Sept. 13, 2015 or Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar.
That ceremony will take place at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem during Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.
At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release. Deut 15:1-2
You may wonder why I mention this so much.
Until a few years ago I paid no attention to Hebrew Feast Days. I now believe that’s a major fault of the Christian church.
If these times, days, and seasons were important to God – then they should be important, at least, for a Christian to learn about.
Read your Bible. Learn and be informed.
Abba, I don’t know it all. I don’t understand it all. But I am willing to learn. I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me. In Jesus name, YES&AMEN
Gardens were planted in the spring and with such abundance of rain and temperate weather, the late summer yielded a wonderful harvest.
But with the arrival of autumn things are slowing down.
With this autumn also comes the beginning of a shemittah year – a year of release and a Sabbath year of rest.
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. Lev 25:3-4
But the church cannot afford to rest over the next year. For the church, working the harvest should never stop and never end until the Lord of the harvest says to stop.
Though the church cannot afford to rest during this Sabbath year, the church needs to continue to release love, hope, and forgiveness into the world.
The question remains as to what may happen at the end of this shemittah year.
Will there be another economic collapse?
That’s unknown at this time.
What is known is that God’s love for you does not diminish and does not rest in the Sabbath year.
With the return of Jesus getting closer every day, use this time wisely to let Jesus release you from your sin.
Accept Him as your Lord and Savior.
This is my conclusion on the meaning of the shemittah.
The Law demanded the release of debt every seven years.
Deut 15:1 At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.
The one indebt did not have to ask or beg for this release. It was given to the indebted at the end of the seven years by Law.
Likewise, we as Christians should be releasing those that are in debt to us. To say it better – Christians should be forgiving those that have sinned against us. It should be given without waiting for the offending party to ask.
Like the shemittah it should be automatically given.
Once the loan holder released the loan through the shemittah, he no longer had to worry about the debt owed to him. He did not have to worry about foreclosing on someone and ruining their life.
What a blessing it was to release someone’s debt.
And when you release someone through forgiveness, you no longer have to sit around ponder and grumble about it. You know longer have to feel wounded. You can be freed by releasing forgiveness.
How many times should you do this?
Matt 18:22 Seventy times seven.
Abba, I have been offended and I have forgiven. I have offended and pray I am forgiven. I do this release and receive this release in the name of Jesus. YES&AMEN
Peter inquired about forgiving others involving the number seven, which is the number of years to forgive debt in the year of release – the shemittah.
Jesus replied and also involved the number seven.
Matt 18:22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Then Jesus tells a story about a certain king
…who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. Matt 18:23
Why would someone want to settle the accounts?
It could be because a shemittah year was at hand and he was looking to recover the loan before he was required by law to release the debt.
In the story it says the king
…was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. Matt 18:27
Released him, loosed him, forgave him the debt certainly sounds like shemittah.
You are in debt to sin. It has demanded a high price for you – death!
Jesus is the Shemittah! He is the One that can release you, loose you, and forgive you of that debt.
I do not know what will happen at the end of the next shemittah, which is September 13, 2015.
But I do know that putting your trust in Jesus will give you the peace and hope through any problems.
Abba, I am blessed that I have been released from sin’s debt. I will trust You to care for me no matter what happens. In Jesus name, YES&AMEN
As I mentioned in an earlier devotion, for me the spiritual meaning of a shemittah release is rooted in forgiveness.
With this thought in mind it will totally change the meaning of what Jesus taught Peter about forgiveness?
Matt 18:21-22 “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
It has been said that the Rabbi’s taught that forgiving someone three times was sufficient. I have found where a Rabbi Yosi may have taught this in the Talmud using the example of Joseph and his brothers as the backdrop.
But what I find interesting is that seven and multiples of it are used.
Seven is one shemittah. Seventy is ten shemittah. And seventy times seven is 490 or seventy shemittah.
What if Peter was not just talking about forgiving someone seven times but seven years!
Then the response of Jesus is not to forgive someone 490 times but seventy shemittah’s or 490 years. That would mean your whole life!
Forgiveness is not an option – it is a lifelong lifestyle!
Matt 6:15 If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Abba, my forgiveness from You will become my forgiveness for others. I release them and free myself from any grudges. In Jesus name, YES&AMEN
A study of the shemittah will reveal that it contains three releases.
First the release of debt.
Deut 15:1 At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.
Second is the release or rest of the land.
Lev 25:2-4 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. 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 third is a release of your faith and dependence on God.
Lev 25:20-22 ‘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.
Can the U. S. possibly fall under the curse of God because we have not held to this principle?
More likely, I believe the U. S. falls under the judgment of God because we have not upheld the principles of Christ and the truth’s of which this nation was founded on.
To me, the spiritual implication of a shemittah is in forgiveness. There is no real forgiveness outside of Christ. Even those that call themselves Christian’s often struggle with truly forgiving someone.
I constantly hear things like “I’ll forgive but I’m not going to forget!”
That is not a release! That is clinging and holding onto the trespass.
Jesus said in the model prayer,
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Matt 6:12
As for the U. S., our problem is not a government problem. It is a people problem. If Christians would have risen up in 1963 with fasting and prayer and stood their ground – then prayer may have remained in schools. It has been downhill ever since with one thing after another, including the government sanctioned right to kill the innocent unborn.
A release of forgiveness is not bound by law but is given by the heart that has been changed by the release and forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus.
Abba, I pray that I can shemitah anyone in debt to me, especially those that need my forgiveness. In Jesus name, YES&AMEN