5/28/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
The following is an excerpt from our upcoming ebook release, “To Build up the Land, Thoughts on Mankind’s uneasy intercourse with Nature,” due to hit digital shelves late this week. Enjoy!
The Land Needs Rest
There is indeed a perfect balance between the time for building up the land and that for allowing the land to rest. It is commonly known as the Sabbath, it is a pattern of time that has literally been encoded into the creation itself.
The Sabbath is best known, at least in the United States, as part of Jewish religious observances. The base of the observance is taken from two passages in the Torah:
2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done.
12 “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as Yahweh your God commanded you. 13 You shall labor six days, and do all your work; 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God, in which you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. Therefore Yahweh your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
The seven day weekly cycle that is anchored by the Sabbath is so entrenched in the creation that every attempt by man to supersede it, the most notable recent attempts being the French Republican Calendar and the Soviet Calendar. Both were suspended after experiments that lasted roughly twelve years.
While the texts in the Torah, which form part of the Christian Bible, offer clear guidance of the divine to observe not only a seven day week, but a seven day week consisting of six days of work and one day of rest, religious tradition alone cannot account for the origins of the seven day cycle.
Cultures throughout the world have operated on weekly structures consisting of anywhere between three and thirteen days, notable ancient examples are the eight day Roman market calendar and the 13 day Mayan week. Indeed, it appears that even the Jewish Sabbath was not observed by the Jews until they were exiled to Babylonian captivity between 597 and 587 BCE.
Adding to the mystery of the seven day week is that it is they only time construct known to mankind that does not conform to any astrological, lunar, or solar cycle, as days, months, and years are designed to do.
The reason that the seven day weekly cycle, ordained in the Torah, has emerged as the dominant time cycle that is now observed by every large society on the planet, is that seven day cycles are deeply ingrained in both plant and animal life at a cellular level.
Dr. Franz Halberg at the University of Minnesota, is the foremost authority on natural rhythms which is the subject matter of an area of science known as chronobiology. Halberg’s research has shown that all rhythmic functions of the human body are likely to possess an innate seven day frequency.
The divine call for a day of rest every seventh day appears to fit perfectly with an unseen but deeply felt rhythm common to the interplay between all living things down to the most basic cellular level.
While an understanding of the seven day weekly cycle and the need to collectively rest on the seventh day is somewhat easy to grasp based on personal experience for most, what is harder to grasp but equally and perhaps more important with regards to building up the land is the need for the land to rest every seventh year.
In other words, the seemingly arbitrary command to abstain from work on the seventh day not only applies to the cycle of days known as the week, but the need to rest on the seventh year of a cycle after six years of production.
Again, the basis for the resting of the Land on the seventh year by abstaining from all productive agricultural activity can be traced to the Torah:
10 “For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In the same way, you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.
2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to Yahweh. 3 You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and gather in its fruits; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and you shall not gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. 7 For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food.
The command to rest the land every seventh year is often embodied in a practice that is known as crop rotation. Crop rotation is a method of agriculture in which a series of different types of crops are planted in the same area, usually a field, in sequential growing seasons.
The planting of different seeds on the same field each season helps the land to achieve balance because different types of plants require from and provide to the land different types of nutrients, allowing the land to replenish itself. An additional benefit to crop rotation can be found with relation to pests. By constantly changing the types of crops grown in a certain area, the farmer can avoid the possibility that a pest become entrenched in an area, as simply changing crops can deprive certain pests of the means necessary to establish viable habitats over long periods of time for their colonies.
Many crop rotation plans call for a field to lie fallow for a season. While the benefits of allowing the land to rest are numerous, the most common benefit of this practice is that it allows the water table underneath the Land to reestablish itself in anticipation of providing crops for the next six years. Given that water tables are not field specific, but cover large areas encompassing many fields, it is important that the fallow years for fields be coordinated to coincide with each other for the benefits of the Sabbath year to accrue to the Land and, consequently, to the land’s inhabitants.
Stay tuned for the ebook release and Trust Jesus.
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