We have seen this week that Sabbath rest is something given by God at creation, and remains part of his continuing commands to Israel to celebrate their freedom in him.
Over time, however, the Sabbath became much more than what God had simply commanded – as people developed many more regulations defining what entailed work or rest. Surely their intentions were good, to maintain a healthy respect for God’s laws, but these regulations were able to eclipse the purpose and personality behind the law.
We’ll see next week how Jesus dealt with these regulations. This has major implications for Christians…as people have long sought to understand how Sabbath laws apply after Jesus. Should Christians rest on Saturday, Sunday, or simply a day a week? Can certain kinds of jobs be done on the day of rest? Can I cut the grass? Can I shop, even though it means someone else works? These are common questions, but even if we disagree, the basic premise remains – God has a rhythm to life, it’s his rhythm, and it’s meant for us as well.
But how many of us have honestly tried it, instead of simply arguing about it?
Our rhythm is usually not one day of rest every six, but comes in weeks – we work, work, work and then rest hard. This is why so many people get sick on vacation! Or we can work, work, work for decades, then retire and finally rest. There is a window of time after retirement that many men are known to get heart attacks, due to the major shock to their systems and lifestyles. The message in this way of life is that we are slaves to work, and can run away once in a while. Or earn our emancipation at retirement. This isn’t what we were made for.
We’ll see next week that our emancipation from slavery has been bought by someone else – we are not slaves to this world’s economy.
Challenge: Try and take a day of complete rest this week. Not your usual creative work (Tuesday) but either put your feet up, or do other kinds of work/play.
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