Leviticus 25:4-- But there will be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land in the seventh year, a Sabbath to the Lord: you are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard.
Flying over Oregon recently, I was moved by the vast beauty beneath our jet. Crater Lake, the second deepest lake in the nation, (according to our Alaska Airlines pilot), is incredible! Snow-adorned mountains, the vast array of timber and winding rivers each directed my thoughts toward a Creator who has a phenomenal artistic touch.
Does it seem like conservationists often come under great scorn? The fear that our land is dangerously abused seems somehow absurd to many because of its sheer enormity. Tree-huggers and land-lovers take their share of knocks. Yet, we as Christians ought to be concerned about the land. It’s an issue of stewardship. To be sure there are those who worship the earth and call her mother. This passion, be it old or new age, is nothing short of idolatry in the Father’s sight. But the excesses of some in search of a savior do not legitimize the neglect of others who see earth as a temporary blimp surpassed by a heavenly home.
Do we think the same God who gave Adam instructions to tend Eden; who taught the Israelites to care for their land and give it rest from constant growing; drafted cosmic legislation relieving us of responsibility to nourish our surroundings so we could focus solely on propagating the gospel message? In fact, the land is a testifying voice to the reality of God! “For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Damaged land hardly glorifies God! How can the “. . . fields and everything in them exult.Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy”(Psalm 96:12), if they are polluted and trashed? What kind of spiritual example are we if we litter the land in apathy?
Today the sky was full of smog. Yet despite the toll of sin on earth my heart still joins the song crickets and frogs, bluebirds and sparrows raise in chorus. This land is your land. This land is my land. May we wisely treat it with honor so that those still searching see our good deeds and are led to our Savior-Designer.
In God’s sight, the land has rights just as human beings have, and many of the theories that are being advanced today go back to God’s original prescription for the land. When God ordained “a sabbath of solemn rest for the land,” it was a reiteration of the instructions given to Adam in the Garden of Eden.—Oswald Chambers in Biblical Ethics
©2000 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)