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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A New Perspective for a New Year: Part 4


Happy Valentine's Day! Did you ever think about the Ten Commandments being all about love? They are: the first four teach us how to love God, the last six teach us how to love each other. As I contemplated on the third command I discovered another division between the first two and second two. In the first two God establishes who He is. The next two, commands three and four, He invites us to have a relationship with Him. How can we refuse such a loving invitation, especially on Valentine's Day?


 

1.     12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.15 You shall remember that you were a slave[c] in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

I’m tired. I was born tired, and I’ve been tired ever since! So, for me this command sounds divine. Oh yeah, it is! Some love work and it's an idol to them. We call them workaholics. Others, known as sluggards and sloths, love sleep. The sin of laziness dominates their character. God revels a pattern to us born out of His perfectly balanced nature: six parts work, one part rest. 

The Sabbath reminds us God is never too busy to be with us. He's never hurried or out of breath. Nor is He lazy. God works diligently. His diligent rhythm includes rest. Just follow this recipe for successful living; successful at work and successful in our relationships, especially in our relationship to Him.

Can you hear Him pleading with His people? “I delivered you from slavery. Don’t be a slave to work. Rest with me. Let’s spend the day together.”

I believe practicing the Sabbath principle preserves our wellbeing. I’ve worked retail now for over a decade. It’s not uncommon for fulltime retail associates to work eight and nine days straight. I’ve seen what that does to them. They become less effective, short tempered, and just plain worn out. They haven’t gotten to spend a day with their families, let alone spend time with God. They haven’t had time off to rest.

The Sabbath is as old as time. God made the world for man in five days. Then He spent a day making man. Finally, He took the seventh day off to spend a day with the man He made.

 That very first Sabbath Day Adam, Eve, and the Lord just chilled together. They listened to birds sing and frogs croak. They watched the sunrise and the sunset. They smelt the fragrance of fresh flowers, and tasted the sweetness of ripe fruit as they enjoyed a meal together. I can see them in my mind laying on a grassy hill looking up at the brand-new sky. I can hear them sighing in repose, content to just be quiet in one another’s presence. What a joy to be with each other and God!
If we are too busy to take one day off, then we are too busy, too busy at the wrong thing. We’re in bondage to our own agenda. This command frees us to rest. We need to rest from our frail attempts at success. We need to rest from the notion that it’s our job to provide for ourselves. He is Jehovah Jireh, the God Who Provides. Let’s just take a day to say “Thanks! We love You, Lord!” Better yet let’s gather with His people and do it together.

Personally, I practice Sabbath on Sunday, the Lord’s day. I worship at church, but also at home. I worship by napping, and ignoring my dishes until Monday morning. Through this simple routine I am refreshed and blessed. Jesus sabbathed too.


The Pharisees often criticized Jesus because he chose to heal on the Sabbath. For Jesus healing was not work, but a releasing of bondage. To remember God’s deliverance is exactly what this command requires. Jesus not only kept the Sabbath, He is the Lord of the Sabbath. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Dear Father,

Thank You for taking a day to be with us in a special way. Thank You for giving us rest. May we by faith enter Your rest.

Amen

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