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Are We cursing our land?

   By J.W. Robinson Page 1 2 Good News Dec, 1960

Today we have severe drought in some areas — unexpected floods in others.
It has not always been this way.
Why the change? Read who is responsible!


LARGE portions of the United States, Australia, South Africa, which were once productive, are now drought stricken or ravaged by floods. Streams and springs are drying up in many areas! Much of the topsoil is eroding. Hurricanes are sweeping inland farther, and with greater frequency, than ever before!

Why all this distress? Is it a naturally caused situation which can be explained away? OR IS IT PUNISHMENT FOR SIN?

If it is punishment, for whose sin are YOU being punished?

Here certainly is a question not only our brethren on the farm need to understand, but all of us everywhere!


Why Climatic Rampage?

Here is the answer —

When God gave Israel the law in Mount Sinai, He told them to cultivate the land and harvest its fruit for six years (Ex. 23:10-11). But He also included this little-known, though vitally important statute: "the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie still . . . In like manner shall you deal with your vineyard and your olive yard."

God made this law a part of His overall law of love. He knows that the land needs a rest every seventh year.

God did not say, "Do it if you want to." He made it a definite command for our own good!

But why the increase in floods, in drought, in blowing topsoil and in tornadoes? And why the coming war and captivity of this whole people? What have the people done to merit such devastation?

Let Leviticus 26:34-35 tell us. "Then [in the near future] shall the land enjoy her Sabbaths AS LONG AS IT LIES DESOLATE, and you be in your enemies' land; then shall the land rest, AND EN JOY HER SABBATHS. As long as it lies desolate it shall rest; BECAUSE IT DID NOT REST IN YOUR SABBATHS, WHEN YOU DWELT UPON IT."

It is all very clear. The land becomes desolate because it has not been allowed to rest and keep its Sabbaths!

Some who call themselves Christians show a great lack of concern for God's sabbatical year. Does that show an attitude of SUBMISSION? No, it typifies the indifference of this modern age!

Don't think for a minute that you are on a band wagon with an easy ticket into the Kingdom of God. You must OBEY God! Otherwise you will suffer with the nation when it pays in full for its sins.

In the Scriptures God isn't speaking just to your neighbor. HE is speaking to YOU!


God's Conditional Promises

Are you occasionally plagued by disease among your livestock, by insect pest, or by drought? If so, you may have been neglecting to DESERVE God's promised blessings. God promises the obedient that He will ". . . satisfy your soul in drought . . . and you shall be like an irrigated garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isa. 58: 11).

God commands us, in Exodus 23:2526, "And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land."

Again, in II Chronicles 7:13-14 God promised us, "When I shut up the heavens that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people [Christians today] who are called by My name HUMBLE THEMSELVES and PRAY and SEEK My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and HEAL their land."

There it is! God's people must obey God — and that includes the keeping of the Sabbath year. Now is the time we need to learn to PRAY for one another, "Casting all your cares upon Him; for He cares for you" (I Pet. 5:7).


Punishment for Disobedience

Notice what happened once before when the people refused to obey this law. We have a record of this in II Chronicles 36:20-21: "And them that had escaped from the sword carried he [Nebuchadnezzar] away to Babylon; where they were servants of him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfill the Word of the Eternal by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she [the land] lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years." Every sabbatical year unkept meant a year in captivity for Judah! God's corrective measures are sure — Israel, too, will be desolate and the land will soon enjoy her Sabbaths because the people refuse to turn to God and keep His sabbatical years.

God warned Israel in Leviticus 26: 14-35 what would happen if they disobeyed this law. Israel was to receive severe punishments in four progressively worsening stages unless the nation repented.

Some have thought this prophecy applies only to Israel's first punishment, and isn't for us today. They quote verse 22: "I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you FEW in number; and your ways [roads] shall be desolate."

Those who are scoffers will say, "That is no concern of ours: there are not enough wild beasts in this nation to do any serious damage." Don't you believe it! We are already getting a foretaste of this condition. Rabies and other diseases that are spread by animals are becoming increasingly more destructive, especially to our children. A typical report which illustrates this point is the following news item from Toronto, Ontario, Canada: "Red foxes are bringing an epidemic of rabies into heavily populated southern Ontario . . . School children in Grey County recently began carrying clubs while waiting for school busses after one girl drove off an attacking fox . . . Anti-rabies vaccine has been given to 400 persons so far this year, compared to 200 for all 1957. Cattle have been hit by the disease" (quoted from the Dallas Times Herald, Nov. 1, 1958).

Besides the rabies that is being spread far and wide by foxes, skunks, mice, bats, and dogs, there are many more diseases that are bringing great destruction to our children and cattle. Diseases, however, are not the only source of trouble from animals. Man has so abused his natural surroundings that wildlife populations and their food supplies are becoming unbalanced. When a species becomes too numerous, or its natural food supply runs low, it is likely to cause abnormal destruction due to sheer hunger madness. Consider the following report from TRUE MAGAZINE, March, 1960:

"There are twice as many rats in the world as people — about five billion (400 million rats in the U.S.). Every 12th farm in the world produces food only to feed rats; a total of about two million average sized modern farm! . . ." Wild animals are destined to become even more destructive throughout the world because men have severely abused the land.


How to Keep the Sabbath Year

We know that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in RIGHTEOUSNESS" (II Tim. 3:16). We know also that we are commanded to keep the Sabbath year and that "all (God's} commandments are RIGHTEOUSNESS (Ps. 119:172)." Therefore let us look into the Scriptures for instruction in the keeping of the Sabbath year.

God's instructions, in Leviticus 25: 3-7, for the Sabbath year are very thorough and complete and are easily understood. [I quote from the Moffatt translation here because it is more easily understood than is the King James Version. The meaning, however, is identical in both].

"For six years you may sow your field, for six years you may prune your vineyard, and gather in the produce; but the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of entire rest FOR THE LAND, a Sabbath in honor of the Eternal, on which you must neither sow a field nor prune a vineyard, on which you must not even gather the after growth of your harvest nor grapes from your undressed vines . . . it shall be a year of entire rest FOR THE LAND, a Sabbath in honor of the Eternal, on which you must neither sow a field nor prune a vineyard, on which you must not even gather the after-growth of your harvest nor grapes from your undressed vines . . . it shall be a year of entire rest FOR THE LAND. The natural produce of the land shall serve as food for you, for yourself and your slaves, male and female, for your hired servant and any outsiders staying with you, furnishing food also for your cattle and livestock!

Read these verses again very carefully. They are important. Notice that the sabbatical year is a year of entire rest FOR THE LAND. Verse five tells you that you must not gather your crops or fruit for commercial use or to store up in that year. They must, in general, be allowed to return to the soil. Yet verse six tells you that the natural produce of the land — that which grows voluntarily — in the sabbatical year shall serve as food for you, your servants, and strangers or guests that are with you.

Some people are temporarily confused when reading these two verses, thinking they contradict. But actually they do not.

You must not harvest the produce of the land in order to sell it. Neither are you to store up the produce of the Sabbath year for future use. You may use the voluntary produce for day-to-day needs. God wants you to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season, even in the Sabbath year.

The natural produce of the land in that year will also furnish food for your cattle and other livestock which may graze on the land (verse 7). This clearly shows that it is permissible to allow cattle to graze the fields in addition to the pasture in the Sabbath year. To take advantage of this liberty it is permissible to allow your cattle herd to increase while they are grazing the whole farm. One man, who did not study these scriptures, mistakenly assumed he should sell all of his cattle the Sabbath year!

Definite proof that we should not plant a garden in our sabbatical year, nor harvest or can its produce, is found in Leviticus 25:20-21: "And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow nor gather in our increase . . ." Notice that God is making provision for those who will be concerned about what they are going to eat during the year in which their land is resting. If we could plant a vegetable garden in the sabbatical year, no one would wonder where food is coming from, because a well-managed garden can be depended upon to provide an abundance of fresh food. Under such a condition, there would be no test of the faith of the individual.