When the Torah records the unusual command of Shemitah (meaning: release or let drop), the seventh year rest for the Land of Israel, it mentions the location where the command was spoken: Mt Sinai.
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר
“And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai saying …” (Lev. 25:1).
Why is the location regarding this command specifically recorded? After all, all the commandments of the Torah, the instruction of God, were given on Sinai.
During the Shemitah the agricultural lands in ancient Israel were not to be sown, or reaped. The land would be in rest. Any fruit that grew on its own was rendered ownerless, and was freely available to all (Lev. 25:6).
Every seven years the children of Israel had to exercise faith, and trust the promise of God’s Word that He would supply: “I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years” (Lev. 25:21). One year of faith-obedience bringing three years of blessing.
Why was this so difficult? It wasn’t the land rest that proved difficult, but the release of debt (Deut. 15:1-2), thereby a release of the lives indebted to you. To release, you had to lose what was owned to you. Why? “Because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed.”
To believe such an unbelievable, and illogical command, it must come from heaven, or the place where heaven and earth kissed: Sinai.
To another mount:
While the word “trespass” is more traditionally used in the Disciples Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer), the Greek is debt: “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12).
The word debt refers to both the financial and non-financial obligations to or of another. The way Yeshua is using it above speaks first of our debts to God; what have we withheld that is rightly due Him? Not only financial, but perhaps concerning an unforgiving spirit by our failure to forgive, as an example. Second, it speaks of debts owed to us, again: financial, non-financial, or both. These debts often become a grudge against someone or several someones.
In the context of the Prayer, the prayer of release follows the prayer for daily bread, or supply. As He promised in the Torah, He will supply, as we walk in faith-obedience, see above.
I believe Yeshua is referencing Shemitah in the Disciples Prayer, and it’s meaning of release; as release from an obligation, either real or imagined, owed to us by another, frees them, and us. Giving both them and us, rest.
Could it be financial? Certainly; but concerning His immediate audience, it would seem that He has those many non-financial “debts” that cause divisions in mind.
Forgiveness of sin, “trespasses,” “a falling short,” is taught in Matthew 7:14-15. This reinforces the idea that Yeshua is teaching the need for a cleaned slate, not just of personal offenses or debts, but also the falling short in every facet of interpersonal life that so often ensnares us.
Doing so will bring forth the fruit of rest: spiritual, physical, familial, and social.
But can it really be? Yes.
Yeshua’s command came from a mount (Matt. 5 – 7), amplifying what had come from the previous mount. Then, He exampled for us forgiveness from Golgotha, or Calvary: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34): the person in Whom all of the promises of God are yes and amen (II Cor. 1:20), released us from bondage that has kept us from them.
Such forgiveness, of debts and trespasses, could only come from heaven; and in Yeshua, the Word from heaven made flesh (Jn. 1:14), we find the grace and mercy to release and let drop the issues and struggles that dig so deeply into our soul, ensnaring us, once again to old patterns of behavior and thinking.
It’s time for a personal release.
Be well. Shalom.