May 03, 2022 18:30pm

When COVID struck our nation, I remember the swarm at the grocery stores. The idea of a mandatory lockdown meant we would be inside for a long time without access to food supplies.

My first trip to the store during that time was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. Masked patrons were on a mission, forcing their way around the store with baskets piled high. No one dared look one another in the eyes. Hellos, how are yous and other pleasantries were non-existent. Get the food and get out.

People were terrified. We didn’t know much about the virus and are still learning to this day. But at that time, we believed it could live up to 72 hours on hard surfaces. People weren’t just masked up, they had on gloves and some even with makeshift bio-hazard suits.

I chose to go on a Tuesday morning. I felt like I would miss the crowd that had to go on Mondays and there would be no way I would attempt a Saturday or a Friday afternoon.

The shelves were empty in many places. You were lucky to find anything on the canned food aisle, sugar and flour were hard to come by, pasta and frozen dinners were scarce, and bread was in high demand. Let’s not even talk about toilet paper…

As I began putting my items on the conveyor belt, an older gentleman behind me began to scold me for the amount of food I was buying. I was shocked at the way he spoke to me. I tried to explain that I was buying for 3 families, but he didn’t care. He spouted off that everyone thought the world was coming to an end and that we were taking all the food from the people who needed it.

Did I not need food? What about the families I was buying for?

I told him I appreciated his patience as I finished my transaction.

Emotion welled up inside me. I was already at a breaking point with not only being the designated person to go out and get supplies, but also worrying about my elderly in-laws that have health conditions. All of that on top of facing changes at work, church and life. I couldn’t see my family, my niece or nephews, and I was struggling.

I held it together as I paid, but his words ran through my mind over and over.

Was I doing the right thing? Was this man right? How could we do things better? What other options did we have? Was there a better way?

As we move into Leviticus 25, we see God giving a command to let the land rest on the seventh year.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.” (Leviticus 25:1-5)

For a whole year, they were to let the land rest. No planting and no harvesting, even of the wild things that grew. So, what were they supposed to do?

Trust in God, He would provide.

“And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.” (Leviticus 25:6-7)

The seventh year, the people would hunt for their food.

Why would God do or say such a thing? We have to remember, this is God’s land that He gave to the Israelites. He is the landlord. He knows what’s best for the land.

In addition, He knows what’s right for His people. If they trusted so much in what they could grow themselves, would they look to God for their sustenance? This law helped them to remember who was their true provider. It also helped them learn to share with one another, in good times and in bad. This seventh year was like the sabbath, set apart for God.

Are we doing the same? Are we looking to God to provide for our daily needs? While much of America has overcome many of our food shortages, we have people still in need across the globe.

This has been a challenging time, but I can say this: I have seen more people return or reach out to God than I ever have before. Without all the other activities, families were once again united and worked together throughout the pandemic. We’ve started taking care of the widows and the children in need. Churches were forced out of the building and are now connecting more people to the gospel than ever before. People who once had no time for God are finding themselves more and more on their knees before Him. I just pray that it stays this way.

God’s law of rest for the land wasn’t about keeping something from the people, it was about refocusing their attention to what truly matters.

Where is our focus?

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