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Friday, October 1, 2010

Your Promised Land of Rest

I have been doing a lot of research lately on the Sabbath and have uncovered some pretty interesting things.  Things I have never seen before.

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John today we read were Jesus was questioned, criticized, and judged for 'working' on the Sabbath, the holy day of rest. (You can go to my Facebook page to see today's readings)

For way too long I think we have been over thinking this day of rest thing.  We have made it more about a list of what we can or cannot do on this one particular day of the week than we have true rest.

Today we saw that was exactly what the Pharisees were doing as well.  They even went so far as to start plotting how to kill Jesus because He 'worked' on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:14).

Side note: I do believe we would all be dead if the Pharisees were to follow us around on the 'Day of Rest' too. 

Now, back to today's posting... (grin)

So, if it is suppose to be a sin on the Sabbath to not rest, then what exactly does it mean to rest?

And here are some of the amazing things I unearthed...

I went back to the original day of rest, the seventh day of creation, recorded for us in Genesis 2:1-3.  The first thing my eyes were opened to was that on days one through six there is a recorded beginning and an ending (morning and evening) to the day, but not on day seven prompting us to conclude that the day has yet to end.

Hebrews 3:16 through 4:16 steers us to that conclusion as well. 

Hebrews 3:18 says the children of Israel, whom God delivered out of Egypt, would not enter His rest (the Promised Land).  Why?  Because verse 19 says they did not believe.  They never came to the place of total dependence on God; therefore, they never entered into the place of total rest in God.

When we rest, it's true we are not 'working'.  But a place of rest is so much more than ceasing from physical labor. 

To be at rest is believing and trusting that God is in control of every area of our lives.  And we are not.  

It is ceasing from laboring to make things happen as God ceased on the seventh day of creation.

Chapter 4 of Hebrews begins with the promise of rest to come and ends with these words.  As you read them, read them in light of the fact that the Son of Man had to come to a place of rest as well while here on earth.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

The promise of God's rest is fully realized through Christ. Therefore, let us strive to obtain it through Him, our sympathizing High Priest.  He knows exactly how we feel when we want to hold onto our cares instead of casting them... when we want to be dependent on ourselves instead of God... when we want to fret instead of rest.

We know that without faith it is impossible to please God, but without obedience to His word, it is impossible to rest in God.

So let us do our best to enter that rest [total dependence on God]. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.  Hebrews 4:11

We all want to enter our promised land of rest. 

And if you will just come to that place of total dependence on God, you will!

I plan to continue this discussion of rest on Monday.  Until then, leave me a comment and share your struggles with being fully dependent on God, the God of our promised rest, and I will address some next week.

Praying you have a great, restFALL weekend,


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