Deuteronomy 5:12 – 16
Pastor Chris Tweitmann
Last week, we reflected on the biblical fact that we are created by God to rest. As we build a world that is being defined more and more by how much we do, by how busy we are and by how long we can go without sleep or a day off, it is becoming critical for us to acknowledge this simple truth. Contrary to our perceptions, the call to rest is not the call to do nothing.
Throughout the work of creation, God declares that, “It is good!” Creation is finished—perfected if you will—with the setting apart of a day to celebrate, to reflect, and to be renewed by God’s delight for the work of His hands. Nature’s rhythms as well as the inclination of our own hearts and minds are oriented towards this kind of renewal. Whether by energy supplements or good old-fashioned stubbornness, we ignore such impulses towards rest at our own peril.
If we persist that we do not have time or that we will rest when we are finished, we betray our lack of understanding of what the Sabbath is. The emergence of the Sabbath is God’s gift of sacred time—a taste of the eternal in the midst of our tendency towards “the daily grind.” All the goodness of creation is fused into a day of rest, an expression of peace and joy. Six days of “It is good!” becomes the 7th day of “Life is good!” While we chase after the tyranny of the urgent, the Lord of all Creation beckons us to slow down and enjoy what is in front of us.
This week as we move from the pages of Genesis and into the story of Israel, particularly her deliverance from bondage to Egypt, God’s invitation to rest becomes a law. As the Lord educates a newly liberated people who to live as He intended, observing the Sabbath is presented as #4 in God’s Top Ten commandments. It is here as rest is codified as a rule of life that we learn how and why God instructs us to rest.
Join us this Sunday as we move from a description of the Sabbath as part of the genesis of our existence to a prescription for keeping the Sabbath. Together let us remember God’s invitation to keep the Sabbath is not just a gift but it is also a command and why resting needed to be framed as a rule of life. Along the way, we also will continue to reflect upon what it practically looks like to practice Sabbath one day in seven and through pockets of time in between.