01 February 2005

When do we get to rest?

God spoke to Moses: "Tell the Israelites, 'Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy. Keep the Sabbath; it's holy to you. Whoever profanes it will most certainly be put to death. Whoever works on it will be excommunicated from the people. There are six days for work but the seventh day is Sabbath, pure rest, holy to God. Anyone who works on the Sabbath will most certainly be put to death. The Israelites will keep the Sabbath, observe Sabbath-keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. It's a fixed sign between me and the Israelites. Yes, because in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day he stopped and took a long, deep breath."
Exodus 3:12-17 (The Message)
I need to take a long, deep breath after reading that. Wow! God actually said that those who didn't honor the Sabbath would be put to death. Seems a little harsh these days. It almost makes you want to just lay motionless every Sunday (hmm...That wouldn't be too bad). I'm beginning to learn, though, that this Sabbath thing is for our own good. Sure we CAN fill our schedule so full that you don't even see your house more than 2 hours a day (an hour to get ready in the morning and an hour before bed at night). But God didn't put us on this earth to be busy. He wants us to have rest, peace, and all that other happy junk. Have you ever noticed that when your life is "go, go, go," most of the time you feel "dead, dead, dead." I guess we can't say that God didn't tell us so. I, am mostly speaking to me. I am one of the "busiest" people I know. I view an empty spot on a calendar as an appointment, or a get-together, or a road-trip waiting to happen. Why? What causes me to want to fill every waking moment (and quite a few of the moments when I should be sleeping) with activity? I'm really not sure. Perhaps sometimes it's to block stuff, other times because it's what we've always done, and perhaps even because we hate seeing emptiness. Who knows?
Perhaps, we won't literally die by dishonoring the Sabbath, these days (and now many people pick any day as the "day of rest"), but God is certainly telling us to slow down when our bodies and minds and spirits are just as drained as can be. I know that I haven't fully kept any day as a Sabbath day (or day of rest) in a long time. I intend to remember this passage and perhaps even schedule time for rest. Man-how weird is that!?!?!
Lord, I ask that you would give me rest. And I understand that I must try and really yearn for rest. If I just keep speeding up, but want you to help me pretend that I'm slowing down, I'm not fooling anybody. Please guide me to your refuge and keep me there for a little while. And Lord, when I am working, help me to be the best I can be and remember that those times of rest were times of rejuvenation and places to re-energize. Starting tonight, I seek your place of rest and refuge. Bring me there. Amen.


Thomas Costello said...

That book that we are reading at chuch - your money - has an awesome chapter on the purpose of your sabbath. It talks about it being more than naything, a day to trust God to provide. just a thought

Gina said...

I'm with you 100%. I grew up literally "keeping the Sabbath" without shopping or watching TV or cleaning or working all day. But ya know what? I have some of the most precious memories from that. We sat around as a family and talked, we went for scenic drives together, we went for walks, read books, read the newspaper and shared with eachother. And my favorite part: took a long nap. Although I wasn't too fond of the legalism, I was fond of how that time was guarded and set aside. It's something that I would also like to incorporate in a more deliberate way.

Liz J said...

Thomas, I wouldn't really picture a book called 'Your Money' featuring a section about the Sabbath, but I guess God is out to surprise us every time...Thanks.