“Shemita“ : Breaking down

Shemita“ : Breaking down

By Augusto A. Kho

December 01, 2019 (Sunday); 9:01 am

Edited : December 12, 2019 (Thursday); 11:44 am



Breaking down

He just came up from downstairs and had some fun chatting with others when suddenly he broke down inside his office. That was last November 28 (Thu) 6:30 in the evening.


Why would someone break down, what could be the reason?


This young businessman said, “I understand that it is a pruning season.”


Why? Because four (4) of his good friends are part of this pruning period - a pilot-friend; a son of a prominent man in Alabang; one among his board of director and a foreign businessman-friend . All these people have the same things in common – they have fallen because of money matters. They extracted from him quite a handsome amount of money. Not small but in millions. Friends but who defrauded him in millions, are they true friends?


Placing your place in his shoes, how will you react about it?




Feeling lonely? Will you break down as well?


According to World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact and he estimated cost to the global economy is US Dollars 1-Trillion per year in lost productivity. Globally, an estimated 264-million people suffer from depression and anxiety is one among its common symptom.



No exemption

There is no exemption when it comes to anxiety and depression. Even men and women of God get through rough times.


Heroes of faith has gone through from these difficult situations even in a more severe ways.


A valiant man, David once said, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” (Psalm 42:11). Elijah prayed that he might die saying, “It I enough! Now, Lord, take my life for I am no better than my fathers,” (1 Kings 19:4). See! Even a prophet is suicidal. Naomi looked down on herself and said to people, “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty...” (Ruth 1:20-21). Jeremiah is known and branded as a “weeping prophet” and he too was afflicted with loneliness, anxiety and depression (Jeremiah 20:14, 18).


Depression knows no one. Depression is the opposite of joy. Joy is from God (Nehemiah 8:10) while depression is one of most effective Satanic tool against His people . Joy in Hebrew “chedvah” (khed-vaw) means “joy or gladness.” From primitive Hebrew word, “chadah” (khaw-daw) meaning “to rejoice.” Remember that song, “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with praise?” How could you praise God when you are down-hearted?




Pruning does not come all year round. It is only for a season. It may somehow painful when we encounter the pruning stage yet it helps a lot in terms of knowing what are strengths are as well our weaknesses and shortcomings. It provides us wisdom also at the end. While theories are helpful, first-hand experiences turns into wisdom that provides you more sharp discernment in the future. Failings are not that all disadvantages. It also pose advantages in the future should we make serious decisions on certain matters. Remember that PRUNING are:

  • Pruning only a process (not the end result)

  • Pruning only a season (it won’t come all year round)

  • Pruning has a divine purpose (for our us to be more effective and productive)


John 15:1-3, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you..”


The word “purge” in KJV is “kathairo” in Greek meaning “to cleanse” or “to prune.” It is a process to take away the filthy impurity according to Strong Bible Dictionary.


So on that very same day at around past 8 in the evening, we went to Club United in Merville, Paranaque for a breathing space. I didn’t realize that they are even some more people \whose facing severe problem day-to-day. Just like this middle-aged man…..Call him a “Billion Pesos Man!”



3-Billion man

At past 8 in the evening when we arrived at Club United, in Merville, Paranaque City. Club United is a flashy golf-course club with its delightful amenities like pool, restaurants, good ambiance waiting lounges and others Until we met this “3-Billion Man


This young businessman poured his heart to the middle-aged 3-Billion man sharing how his four friends duped him with millions. The young man said to him that he understand God is just using the situation to prune who are real friends are.


Not until we found out he himself is experiencing “purging season.” But this 3 Billion man is losing P168-M a month since November 1, 2019 with a projected total cost of P2-Billion in a year time. He said, “I don’t know what to do. I have had sleepless nights but I would like to rest on God and let Him move the way He wants it.”


Both are experiencing the same problems. They are too trusting in sharing their “trade secrets” to their business associate-friends who eventually being mesmerized with huge profits that they turned their backs and pursue material things rather than respect, integrity and relationship. As the Bible warns us in 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Money isn’t evil but our attitude. Money become a thorn in the flesh when someone love the material things than friendship, relationship or God.



The young businessman’s face glowed in awe then he turned on me, “Is it not the prophets of God said 2020 is a pruning stage? Do you remember that word?” as he kept asking me for an answer which I could not exactly recall. “I will check and text you later and give you the exact word,” I answered him back.


When we left the place and I was just parking my car in front of Fountain Breeze Condominium, the word suddenly popped out. The word is “shemitah.”


What is shemitah?



Shevit or Shmita

Shemitah is a pruning stage. Shmita is also called Sabbatical year or shevit literally means ”seventh” It is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah in the land of Israel. Coincidentally, this young man is ushering in his 7th year in the cargo and logistics business. He spent the past few years as Sales Manager in several cargo companies.


During shemitah, the land is left to lie fallow

  • all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law)

  • Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as a preventive measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants.

  • Additionally, any fruits or herbs which grow of their own accord and where no watch is kept over them are deemed hefker (ownerless

  • variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of shmita produce.

  • All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted


Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org. shemitah hebrew



Empty barn or warehouse

Shemitah is a “year of release.” It is like a deliverance period.


As soon as the Jews settled in the Holy Land, they began to count and observe seven-year cycles. Every cycle would culminate in a Sabbatical year,2 known as Shemittah,3 literally: “to release.” The year following the destruction of the second Holy Temple was the first year of a seven-year.


The year following the destruction of the second Holy Temple was the first year of a seven-year Sabbatical cycle. In the Jewish calendar, counting from Creation, this was the year 3829, 68–69 CE on the secular calendar. By counting sevens from then, we see that the next Shemittah year will be the year 5782 after Creation, which runs from September 7, 2021 - September 25, 2022.


The Shemittah year waives all outstanding debts as well.


The observance of Shemittah has several dimensions though (See some helpful information also).



Basic principle

Shemitah has basic principle. All the things we are doing in day-to-day activity has foundational biblical principle whether we consciously know that or not. Just like observing Sabbath Day is we often neglect both by Catholics and Evangelical Christians.


Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” (Exodus 20:8).


And how many times we don’t remember that basic principle while we don’t forget our other human appointments and worldly affairs neglecting the most important and replacing them with something non-beneficial to us? ALSO it says:


Exodus 16:23, “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the

rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning’.”



For me, shemitah is like a much-awaited and anticipated moment of rest from our personal busyness of struggles and humane activities Can’t we let God do the rest of the things we could not do?


Rest like shabbat is ceasing from human efforts believing God is doing His part. A complete rest… That is why He made Sabbath a time of rest. Just like this hard laboring horse that at least resting for a while in front of Manila Cathedral which I have taken a shot last November 26, 2016 after our meeting with Catholic and Evangelical lay leaders.




Three witnesses

Unless we put all things in “black and white,” then we cannot work together as partners in our working places.

What I mean in “
black and white” it sealing our activity or agreement formally. The Bible says that “At the mouths of two or three witnesses, shall the matter be established,” (Deut. 19:15)


The word “matter” in Hebrew “dabar” means “business.”


Just recently we had a talk with the foreign businessman who is “defrauding” his business partner with P14-Million and another P2.8-Million. When someone among them asked him if they can put what they have agreed upon in writing and he will sign it as “Minutes of Meeting” he suddenly turned elusive saying, “I will not sign!”


When talks or agreement between two parties are not being chronicled as Minutes of Meeting then it has no legal substance. It is null and void from the very beginning. Even God provided the Old and New Testament as a binding-contract between Himself and man.




I have a proof of two or three witnesses on this what we call “Shemitah.”


The word “shemitah” the “Year of Release” are mentioned thrice or three times in my several meetings this November, 2019. The word “shemitah” was recurring every now and then during the “Palawan 7: Bishops and Leaders Conference” among Evangelicals from November 14-16 at Batangas. The word “2020 Year of Release” is also mentioned during PCM Meeting with Catholics and Evangelicals last November 26 somewhere in Intramuros near the Manila Cathedral. The word “2020 Year of Release” is also mentioned last October 26 during the District 6 Pangasinan Fellowship Meeting among pastors.



Basic fact

The basic fact about shemitah is recorded in the creation of the world.


Genesis 2:1-3, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And

on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”


From those two verses alone, “seventh” is mentioned three (3) times. There the word “seventh” in Hebrew “shebi’y” means “indefinite number” starting from the “day of rest” on the 7th Day that marks the beginning of yet another day after the “day of completion.”

When someone especially a bible-believer does not observe Sabbath, then he has not completed all the previous days of works he have had made. The observance of “
rest” on “Sabbath” commemorates “completion” of the previous day’s work. Then you can keep on counting on for another days, weeks, months or years.


Sabbath is not only the most holy day. It is in fact a “blessed” day. The word “blessed” in Hebrew “barak” means “to cause to kneel.” It is also means “to praise” and “to salute.” It is an act of adoration to God according to Strong


Only when you observe the Sabbath that can make you rested, complete, and whole. Sabbatical Observance makes you whole one-week labor complete and you can start anew starting from there.


Sheviy or Shemitah like that of Sabbath means rest, complete, release and harvest. It is just like saying that it is not our human efforts and strength that matters after all Paul says “ .. but God gave the increase,” (1 Cor. 3:6).