Can you name the 10 commandments that God gave to Moses up on Mount Sinai? Take a minute and see how many of the ten you can come up with.
I was reading the 10 commandments awhile back and I was actually surprised to be reminded that, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy," is one of the commandments that God required of the Children of Israel. (Exodus 20) It was not the last commandment given, an afterthought or something good we should probably do. God listed it as the fourth commandment. Under having no other gods before Him, not making or worshiping idols, and not taking the Lord's name in vain. He instructs us to rest and keep the sabbath day holy before he tells us to honor our parents, not to commit murder or adultery, to steal, lie, or covet the things of others.
I know when I am "laying down the law" with my children that I begin with the "big ones." The non-negotiable items and then I move into more common sense things that I want them to remember. I cannot say if that is what God did here with the commandments or if they are all equally important to Him.
Regardless, Jesus stated in Matthew 5:17 that "I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them." But somewhere down the line, in the "we are not under the law, but under grace" era where we no longer have to make sacrifices for our sins because Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf; we have lost the principle of resting. We don't equate resting as a form of holiness. I don't believe that God gave the 10 commandments to make life difficult for His children, but rather to enable them to live at peace and to live life fully without the guilt and cares of this world pulling them down.
This theme of resting has been something that God has been dealing with my heart about for the past few months. I had come to a point of resolution with it. As long as my life was in balance and I wasn't causing myself or my family to have strife I felt like I was doing well. My boundaries were in place. If I felt I was taking on too much or someone was asking me to join or lead one more thing that would not fit within the balance of my life I could turn it down without feeling badly. I was spending time with God in prayer and in His Word. It wasn't until this past Saturday when it rained all day and I felt a sense of release, that I didn't have to complete or accomplish anything, that I found myself thinking about the concept of rest again.
It is not in my nature to slow down. To sit and "rest" for the sake of resting. I was gainfully employed by the time I was 12 and have been multi-tasking and balancing work, school, family, and life ever since. I genuinely enjoy planning, coordinating, and accomplishing. But in those rare moments, like this past Saturday, when I have that sense of complete "release" from the demands of life, I wonder if God doesn't want us to be still and rest more regularly.
Most of the time when I am praying or reading the Bible I am looking for dialogue. I am talking to the Lord pouring out my gratitude, my desires, my hopes and fears before Him or I am waiting for Him to talk; to show me some new truth in His word, new direction or to affirm that I am on the right path. That He is going to meet my needs and the needs of those I bring before Him. However, it dawned on me that I rarely just sit in silence with the Lord and just enjoy His presence without needing to talk. You know how when you are in a close friendship or marriage how you can just sit there with the person and neither of you say anything and you don't feel like you need to? There is no awkwardness in the silence, just a peaceful sense of being? That kind of relationship takes time, sometimes years, to develop.
I am still reflecting on what true rest looks like. My ideal thought would be my sitting at the side of a stream out in the mountains of Colorado just "hangin' with God." Enjoying His creation and telling Him how right He was that "it is good." However, practically speaking, life isn't like that for me with three active kids, a husband, and a cat. I do not believe God is asking us just to sit around, not do any work and to stare at each other all day long. But I don't believe He has answered this completely for me yet and I am curious what sabbath rest looks like to you. I am asking you to share your practical applications of how you experience rest. Feel free to comment below this post or e-mail me at email@example.com.
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