Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Now as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You must keep My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Exodus 31:12-13 NASB
Series: An Invitation to Rest
Without even batting an eye, we regularly push the limits of our bodies, minds, and, yes, even our souls. “Burning the candle at both ends” becomes a habit. But even as we get up early and stay up late, we somehow miss the quiet moments to just be still. We look at stillness as wasting time instead of time well spent. If we don’t make a shift in our mindset, we may very well be missing some of the most precious experiences God has for us.
As we have discovered over the past two weeks in this series, God has made a way for us to find rest in His presence. As we draw close to Him, He draws close to us. Drawing close to Him requires us to put on the brakes of our everyday rushing and come to a full stop. Jesus describes this “pause” as the Sabbath. Although keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the Ten Commandments, we skip over it week after week. God created the Sabbath—Jesus reminds us—to meet the needs of people. The religious leaders in Jesus’ day put many “man made” rules and regulations on the gift of the Sabbath, so instead of it being a blessing, it became a burden to the people. It was one more rule to follow, one more law no one could keep perfectly. This gift wasn’t given to restrict God’s people, rather to refresh them.
Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28 NLT)
What is causing us to believe we are so invincible we don’t need to receive the gift of the Sabbath? I mean, I am guilty as the next person when it comes to getting one more thing done. I take a quick breath and move on to the next thing. Jesus, however, holds a place for me. He has this beautifully wrapped gift just waiting to be opened. It even comes with a big red bow! If I were Him I would be yelling, “UNWRAP THE GIFT ALREADY!” But, He doesn’t. He is gentle and humble, and patient and kind. And He waits for us to come to Him.
One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 139. In verses 13-14, David writes of God’s intimate knowledge of us.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (NLT)
God created us wonderfully complex. He knows everything about us. This means He created the Sabbath as a gift because He knows we need it! Why would we deny ourselves by refusing to unwrap it? But, as week after week rolls by, I do exactly that to my Savior. I miss my opportunity to sit with Jesus, to talk with Him, listen to Him, learn from Him, and rest in Him. I deny His gift and my soul remains distressed.
I love opening presents and my husband is a great gift giver. There is not a chance I am leaving a gift he offers me sitting on the table unopened. I rip that paper off in record time! My prayer for all of us is that we tear open the precious gift of stillness. Let’s reach for the Word of God, spend one day or one hour of our time rejoicing, enjoying, pursuing, and sitting at the feet of Jesus to receive all that He has for us.
Unwrap the gift.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Exodus 31:12-17; Mark 2:27; Exodus 31:12-17; Psalm 139; James 4:8; Psalm 46:10