Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Day to Rest?

I always seem to forget the fourth commandment.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."   
                                  -Exodus 20:8-11

I can remember that its one of the big ten. It's in the first five and I can usually remember and spit out something about one of the ten commandments being "remembering the sabbath."  Whatever that means.  But the fourth commandment doesn't really mean a whole lot to me.  Most often, I find that I categorize with other strange laws from Leviticus that don't really affect how I live my life. 

I always overlooked that command.  I am pretty good at the whole "do not murder" command.  And I try hard not to lie or covet.  I know I am not under the law anymore.  I know I have been saved by grace.  I know that more than anything else for me, the ten commandments are a mirror exposing my faults.  Well, I found one maybe.

I believe fourth commandment has got to mean something.  It was important enough that God himself emphasized it over and over in the Old Testament.  It dates back to the beginning of time, when God created the world and rested on the seventh day to set the pattern for his creation.  It's important to God.  Recently, I decided to start trying to take a sabbath day.  A whole day to rest and relax.  No homework.  No studying.  I didn't figure it could be that hard. 

I was wrong.  I did not even know what to do with myself.  What do you do on a day devoted to God.  Ok, it isn't so hard to tithe money to God.  Seems pretty straightforward.  But how do you tithe time?  What do you do with that time?  Do you read your Bible?  Or sit all day praying?  How do you define work?  It says to work 6 days a week and refrain from it on the seventh.  Ok, so it means not doing the things I usually do.  What do I usually fill my days with?  My job.  Classes.  Homework.  Frantic last minute studying.  And a million little tasks that simply must get done now.  What would a day be like if I simply stopped all that, sat down for an instant, and pondered God?  I decided to try it. 

It is hard work taking a day off.  Everything you need to do comes rushing to mind, like hornets swarming honey.  Allowing yourself, or rather forcing yourself, to not get up and write that one letter or quickly read your homework for Monday isn't easy.  And yet, how wonderful is that freedom!

Try it.  I dare you.  Take one day and simply rest.  God will help you get done what you need to do.  Spend some time relaxing with Him. 

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