“And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years. When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating some of the old crop; you shall eat the old until the ninth year, when its crop arrives.” Leviticus 25:20-22
Early in the days of Israel’s birth as a nation, God set out a system of government for them that was ordered around one, central theme: “Follow me, and I will provide for you.”
Though the text above is ancient, it is not unusual for God to call us today to tasks of obedience that test our rational minds and ask for more faith than sight. How do we react to this?
The passage above comes from a series of rules for the new nation, and this rule requires a lot of faith. This item sets out a standard with a promise: every seven years, the Israelites were to cease from their agricultural labor and let their farms rest . . . a sabbath for the land, a time of waiting.
For farmers in the land, a natural question comes to mind: “How will we eat if we don’t plant or harvest?”
A good question, and God anticipates it, showing how the process of trust would work: in year six of the seven-year cycle, He pledges to command His blessing so that the land produces a vast amount of food in the sixth year to carry the people through to the next, possible harvest.
The farmers in Israel hearing this would have faced an unusual circumstance as they lived this out. In year seven, they would not head into the fields ahead of the spring or fall rains. There would be no selection of seed, no planting, no sounds of labor-bearing animals in their farms or their neighbors farms. . .there would be an unusual quiet across the land. It would be strange not to be working. All around, they would find themselves walking in the unique sights of empty and silent meadows.
A people waiting, watching and trusting in God’s supply.
We walk in silent meadows, too: times when God calls us to trust him unconventionally and release our well-being into His care.
- He asks us to be silent in arguments when we worry about defending our reputations.
- He asks us to speak out loudly for truth when all others are stricken silent in their fear.
- He asks us to give away our wealth when we aren’t sure about its supply.
- He ask us to stay where we are when everything in us calls out to run.
- He asks us to leave the familiar in exchange for the unknown road.
And in with each ask, we hear a familiar, ancient leading, “Follow me, and I will provide for you.”
He’s getting us ready to learn the lessons of the silent meadow. Lessons like these:
- God understands our questions. As our Creator, the Father knows how we think, and He offers wisdom enough for us to follow Him. Am I willing to listen, know and obey Him? (Psalm 139)
- God always provides what we need and usually more than that. In the seven-year cycle above, at the end of the sixth year, God provided an extra supply for the nation, three crops-worth: the natural sixth-year crop, eaten in the silent, seventh year; a second crop to stand for the crop of the seventh year and eaten in the eighth; and a third crop, on top of the one grown in the eighth – both available in the ninth year-abundance from obedience. Will I believe that I will always have what I need as I obey Him? (2 Corinthians 9:8-11)
- God assumes the responsibility for the outcomes of our obedience. It is His blessing at His command that makes the land produce in bounty. Am I willing to wait for and accept God’s actions as I follow Him? (Daniel 3)
- We know God as we obey Him. In any challenge that involves a seventh year of trusting, the time of silent waiting and watching is also a time of depending on God. His presence becomes familiar as our source of power. Will I acknowledge Him as always present and active as I wait? (Job 42:1-6)
- God’s focus for us is a relationship with Him. This story above isn’t about agriculture management (though there is a certain wisdom in letting land go fallow.) The focus here is on an ancient question from the Father: “Will you follow me as I provide for you?” Will I? (Zephaniah 3:17)
Where is God leading you today? If it includes a call for exceptional faith and unconventional trust, are you willing to follow and let Him provide for you?
His track record with this is pretty good. In fact, its perfect.
I am continuing to learn this and all of the lessons that are found for those who walk and wait in a silent meadow.
“Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.'” John 14:23