“When you enter the land and plant various kinds of fruit trees, you are to regard its fruit as forbidden — for three years it will be forbidden to you and not eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, for praising Adonai. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, so that it will produce even more for you; I am YHVH your God.”-Leviticus 19:23-25
From verse 23 we get a set of farming laws that obviously won’t take effect until Israel enters the Promised Land.
The instructions are that when Israel plants fruit trees, meaning any tree that produces something edible such as nuts, oranges, or dates etcetera, for the the first 3 years none of its produce is to be eaten.
However, this is not a prohibition against letting the fruit grow until it’s ripe and then destroying it because the Lord forbade eating it.
Rather, it is a prohibition against trimming or pruning the tree.
Because of the lengthy pruning process that is required in order for the tree to mature properly.
If the tree is not allowed to fully mature, it won’t reach its full productive potential.
Gotta trust the Creator on these things folks!
So for the 1st three years, the trees’ young branches are to be heavily pruned.
While it is true that some fruit that might otherwise have grown will be lost, in the long run, the tree will end up becoming a much better producer.
Next we’re told that in the 4th year we can expect a good harvest, but that first legal harvest is to be set apart for praising God.
Although it’s not clearly defined, what this amounted to was offering the fruit up to the Lord in a celebration of sorts.
In other words, this particular harvest was to be considered HOLY unto God and thus given back to Him.
The common people did NOT eat it but I think it may have been eaten by God’s HOLY workers, the Levites and the Priests.
Let me say this again, so it’s clear.
The fruit from the 4th year harvest was consecrated and set-apart for God.
It was considered the Lord’s HOLY property.
And since it was YHVH’s HOLY property, a portion of it was burned up and the remaining portion went to the priesthood.
In the 5th year, finally the normal harvesting of the fruit can begin.
The reason we’re told to obey this 5-year progressive procedure is so the yield of the tree harvest will be increased.
This is another of those situations where we can see the “AS-IN-HEAVEN-SO-ON-EARTH PRINCIPLE” at work.
In other words, we have a horticultural reality that dictates it is best to focus on just pruning the trees for three years so they can become better producers in the long run.
On the hand however, we have the spiritual reality of receiving a SUPERNATURAL increase and blessings from YHVH due to our obedience alone.
This is a principle the heathen gentile mind will never understand.
The pagan mind only lusts after the physical fruit of the tree not realizing that the real blessing is receiving SHALOM from above, something that only YHVH can give.
A pagan Canaanite may have been able to achieve a similar increase in harvest by imitating the agricultural practices of the Israelites, but SHALOM which includes joy, peace of mind and health is only something you can get from God.
Only one who loves God AND OBEYS YHVH’s commands can receive SHALOM which is the greatest blessing of them all.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“So do not worry, saying,
‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?’
or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the gentiles run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”