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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7/14/11 Do You Want to Rest?

A Devotional on the Ten Commandments (for the summer) with attention to the New Testament
The fourth Command: Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy

21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”
24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16:21-30)

1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[a] 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[c] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” (Hebrews 4:1-4)

(Gathering of Manna- Bacchiaca Francesco 1540/55 Natl Gallery Washington DC)

Thoughts: "Rest in Peace" used to be the common Christian statement on a tombstone.  Our ultimate rest and peace is found not in this life.  But the keeping of the Sabbath is a pointer, a deposit toward our great treasure of rest in God's presence (described in Hebrews 4).  The Manna was given as a visible lesson that God provides what we need each day when we trust in Him, and that we should rest in God one day in seven.  At the very beginning of the nation of Israel, they were taught to rely on God daily, yet also to stop and rest for their own good.  In a time when so many value work, productivity, entertainment and sports- busy-ness all the time- God calls us to rest. We need to be able to trust in God's daily bread, to rest in Him.  The question before us is do we really want rest and really want peace in our lives? 

Prayer: Help me to see the keeping of one day in seven- a Sabbath as a gift from you, O Lord.  Help my soul to catch up with my body and mind. 

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