Sabbath Rest (end of 2 Ch)
“The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested…” 2 Ch. 36:21
The ruthless Babylonians finally surfaced on the horizon and what was going to transpire to Judah inevitably took place. The temple was destroyed, the holy city was in utter ruin, the people who survived the sword had been taken away in exile, and the nation was no more.
The music ceased and the temple worship had become a distant memory, and the name of the Lord was no longer mentioned. The glorious nation founded by David and Solomon had vanished from the face of the earth. The destiny of the chosen people was controlled by foreigners and they appeared to be abandoned.
The people who shepherded the sheep or tilled the land were either slaughtered by the sword or had been led in chains to foreign soil, never to return. The land was in desolation, yet we read: “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested…”
The land had been tilled and the soil turned over repeatedly and the last drop of juice had been squeezed out from her and she had nothing left to give. The people had been embraced by the land like children by their mothers, and the caretakers finally got to breathe a sigh of relief after the children were taken away. The land finally got to enjoy the rest that she had long been promised.
Indeed, the land had been taken for granted for hundreds of years, and never received the gratitude she rightly deserved. After years of moaning and groaning under a tremendous pressure to produce, her Sabbath finally arrived, and the time of desolation was actually a good thing for the overworked cattle and land.
Does the land have any feelings at all? Does it even moan and groan when it’s abused by all sorts of pollution and misused by overplanting?
There was a river with clean water not far from our village where we fished with bamboo sticks and learned how to dogpaddle as little boys. Yet that was over fifty years ago and now the water is filthy and the river bed is filled with empty plastic water battles and dead animal’s carcasses. What the land badly needs, I often thought when I witnessed what was going on, is a long Sabbath rest.
God’s people continued to ignore God’s commands and mock God’s servants until they eventually become irredeemable. Therefore, the suffering and dislocation they had to endure was in essence a good thing, a sort of Sabbath both for them and for the land, for unless desolation had taken place, restoration wouldn’t have come about.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 6:10:00 AM