Holy Rest Is Hard Work!
Lord, You are my maker and my God. You have given me life and You sustain me. I bless Your name.
Read Exodus 31:12-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Sadly, everything about us works against slowing down. Sports, accessibility to work, e-mails and cell phones, fill up the Sabbath day so we never stop. Sabbath is God’s way of saying, ‘Stop. Know your limits. Don’t burn out'” (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun). Another timely reminder!
The command to observe the Sabbath seems out of place at the end of the instructions to build the Tabernacle. But just as the Tabernacle is given by God to enshrine and enclose “holy space,” separating it from the rest of the Israelite camp, so the Sabbath is given by God to enshrine and enclose “holy time,” separating it from the rest of the week. The slaves in Egypt were given no rest, but now they are free, so, paradoxically, they must obey God’s command to take rest. Even the most worthwhile work activity, the building of the Tabernacle, a place to worship God in the beauty of holiness, must stop. The Sabbath takes priority.
I am not a legalist about Sabbath observance. For Jewish people, from sunset to sunset, the 39 types of activity that were traditionally associated with the building of the Tabernacle are forbidden. Of course, there are always possible exceptions, such as when life or health are endangered, but the fundamental principles of rest, recreation and renewal are paramount. Three good meals, time with family and friends, time for the worship of God, are part of the joyful celebration of this, the most important and most frequent religious festival in Judaism.
I see Christians, and especially Christian leaders, breaking this command every week! Unless they have a proper day off on another day, their Sabbath becomes a mad rush, with little time to be renewed in God’s presence. If we are to “keep the Sabbath holy” and “observe the Sabbath wholly” we need to plan, prepare and make provision for our lives to enjoy this holy time on a regular, weekly basis. Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, observed and fulfilled the Sabbath by giving us true heavenly rest in addition to the earthly rest we should also enjoy.
Plan your next proper day of rest. What activities will it include, and what will it exclude? Can you do this every week?
Father, because I have embraced Your love, I belong to Your Kingdom. Keep before me the fact that this Kingdom is not ruled by the clock of the tyranny of the urgent.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.