Oct19SunOctober 19, 2014“What is the Shemitah?”“At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.”[Deut 15:1]
Shemitah is the Hebrew word for release. Although it is under the Old Testament/Covenant it was a part of God’s plan for every creditor who lends to his neighbor to release them from the debt owed in addition to giving the earth rest from six consecutive years of sowing and reaping of harvests for His people. The seventh year was rest for the land just as the seventh day was rest for man. In the eighth year they would begin planting and harvesting all over, as our God is a God of seasons, cycles and timing. Simple obedience to His instructions brought on His blessing. He sets before us life and good, death and evil; life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life (see Deut 30:15-20).
In the sixth year, God said that He would command a blessing and the land would bring forth fruit for THREE YEARS!!! (see Lev 25:21, 22). That would produce enough for year six, year seven, and year eight (planting season) and last till the ninth year -- harvest was ready. During the Shemitah Year, also known as the Year of Debt Cancellation, God promises to bless His people so lavishly that there will be no poor among them and that if there are, those that have been blessed are to open their hands wide to the poor and generously lend them whatever they needed. God says this is the very thing that will lead to Him blessing us in all we do and work at (see Deut 15:10).
The Shemitah Year was a year of release in which all debts were cancelled or forgiven – it’s the Lord’s Year of debt cancellation. You could still demand payment from foreigners, but were commanded to forgive your fellow brethren for whatever they owed you. The Shemitah Year is a year of faith where you trust God for supernatural provision and endowment of blessing for now and in the future. During this time we learn and practice faith, trust, forgiveness, sharing and giving.
God’s intention is to bless during this time, however, as Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Rabbi and author has noted, major calamities have taken place when this commandment has not been kept. This Shemitah Year 2014/2015 began September 25, 2014 and goes through September 13, 2015. Next week we’ll look at some of the events that have already taken place.