Covid-19 a Sabbath Rest for Earth?

Posted on April 24, 2020


Nature Rejoices
One of the positives of Covid-19 is its impact on the environment. Take, for instance, this report out of Venice, Italy:

A jellyfish has been spotted swimming serenely up a Venice canal. A rare sight, the creature has been seen due to clearer waters flowing through the city’s canals since the coronavirus crisis has seen the population largely confined to their homes, and a lack of tourists flocking to the city. The decrease in boat traffic means the water is less disturbed, and so appears more transparent, and this has resulted in plenty of wildlife being spotted in the city’s abandoned waterways.[1]  

Elsewhere, there are reports that butterflies throughout the world are flourishing as their numbers have multiplied. Furthermore, more animals and assorted critters are treading upon territory which the human species has laid claim to for decades.

Christians can learn from this, the lesson being that the Lord God cares deeply about this Earth He created. Yes, one day it will be refurbished and made perfect (2 Peter 3:11-13), but He still cares about the world in its fallen condition. Hmm, sounds familiar. Believers will one day be given new, perfect, immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 58:42-49), but God still deeply cares about us in our fallen “coverings.”

God Loves the Land
In ancient Israel, God ordained that just as human beings must have a day of rest every seven days, so too the land every seven years. We read in Leviticus 25:1-5 (emphasis added):

The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.’”

One year out of every seven, the land was to revert to its natural state. God would cause the land to yield its bounty during this time, the people’s reward for their faithfulness.

Tragically, the Israelites ignored this command – symbolic of all their disobedience – and paid a heavy price for it. The Israelites would go into Babylonian exile for 70 years, during which time the Lord would heal the land: “The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed …” (2 Chronicles 36:21).

Be More Mindful
I’m not sure if there is a connection here or not, but the Bible makes clear that the Lord cares about His creation, as beautifully illustrated in Psalm 104:27-30:

All creatures look to you [God] to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

Yes, humanity is the pinnacle of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-27), but this doesn’t give us carte blanche to run roughshod over the planet. God has also reserved an immense portion of this planet for His other created beings, and is concerned over their welfare.

Perhaps this Covid-19 sabbath rest is proof of this, and a message to us that we are to be just a little more respectful and caring of the “other” works of His hands!