Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 26, 2014

Sabbatical: Rest, Reflection, Rejoicing, and Righteousness

Today’s devotion comes from Leviticus 25:1-7.

“The Lord then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the Lord.  Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord;  you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.  Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.  All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food;  yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you.  Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat.”  Leviticus 25:1-7.


Sabbatical is defined by as “any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.” (one of the definitions).

I consider July 1997 to December 1997 as a sabbatical in my life.  It was not rest by choice.  I moved from St. Petersburg, Florida where I had lived for more than 15 years to Gainesville, Georgia, my wife’s hometown.  Business had been slow for me in St. Petersburg, and I wanted to try a new location to work and to live.

We did not find what we were looking for, most importantly work, and we moved back to St. Petersburg, but this time turned out to be a sabbatical for me.  We lived in a beautiful apartment on a hillside with a big porch overlooking a panoramic view of Lake Lanier.  Although I did not do customary work in meeting with clients and go to Court hearings, I was able to finish up my cases through express mail, faxes, and call forwarding.  God provided enough income for the mortgage payment on my home in St. Petersburg, for the rent on my apartment in Gainesville, and for all my other financial needs.

But, what was most remarkable about this time is that I was able to rest and reflect on my life and put together “Gold Mining a/k/a Letters to Harry” in a book form.  This product is shown in my web site at the “Gold Mining” tag on top of my Home Page.

I think there was a sabbatical time in the life of Solomon too when he focused his attention and work in building the temple for the LORD.

“David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon, saying, “Is not the Lord your God with you?  And has He not given you rest on every side?  For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and before His people.  Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God;  arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.”  1 Chronicles 22:17-19.

We noticed that Solomon did not use the sabbatical to just rest.  David advised all the leaders of Israel:  “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God;  arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God”.

And so, we too can consider what the LORD is prompting us to do in our sabbatical or in our retirement or even on this holiday of Memorial Day.  The first step is to “set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God”.

We have God’s promises to guide us, surround us with lovingkindness, and bring forth our righteousness.

“8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”  Psalm 32:8-11.

“5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.”  Psalm 37:5-11.


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