While scientists and the rest of mankind must respect certain physical laws that govern our daily lives, many people view the laws revealed in the Bible—governing civil life, morality and personal conduct, and religious life—with scorn and contempt. However, defying those laws leads to trouble just as surely as breaking the physical laws does.So farmers apparently are forbidden from planting and harvesting once every seven years.
One law in the Old Testament that critics ridicule is the land sabbath. God commanded that every seven years, the land be allowed to rest—there was no pruning or planting (for commercial harvesting), and nothing was to be harvested except what people picked for their own personal consumption (Leviticus 25:2-7, 18-22). To many, this law seems obsolete: Modern farmers can get around resting the land by using fertilizers.
But scientists are now beginning to learn that there is no getting around this law. The use of fertilizers to avoid letting the land rest is a shortcut that wreaks considerable damage to the land in the long run.
God’s law doesn’t give us all the details we need to be successful farmers. But without keeping these laws, we cannot maintain healthy and productive soils. This land sabbath was probably a time to allow plants that put nitrogen back into the soil to grow, and let animals fertilize the land with their microbe-rich manure. The soil even benefits from just being left still. The microbes can grow much faster without the physical disruption that comes from plowing the fields and sowing seeds.
I wonder how that would work out. Has anyone else tried that before?
Several years ago, we [WCG's leaders] finally discovered that one particular law that we'd taken from the old covenant, and we sliiiiiiiid it over into the new -- or if you like the word, "transplant." In case Dr. Christian Bernard may be here.
We took over into the new -- that was the seventh-year land Sabbath -- and we imposed that upon Christian farmers. We said it was a law. We said it was "a test of faith," didn't we? And farmer after farmer went to the wall financially and some went into bankruptcy!
Why didn't someone over the years say "wait a minute! Let's go back and study this law more carefully. It seems to me God is reneging on his part of the bargain." Because you see, God said he would give a three-fold harvest in the sixth year. But I know of not one case of a Christian farmer receiving a three-fold harvest in the sixth year. Now why then did we impose upon people their part of the bargain, and never, ever ask "why isn't God fulfilling his part?"
Oh, we are great "blue pencilers" of Law. We pick and choose various laws out of the old covenant that, somehow, we think are convenient, suitable, or should be imposed. We will take whole sections of Law and slide them -- or we will pick and choose parts of laws and them slide them. By what method do we do this? (Richard Plache, 1976 sermon, as archived by the Painful Truth.)