16 June 2013

Rest!

Lately, I've been reading up on the Law in the Old Testament. I know. I'm asking for punishment. Out of all the books of the Bible, God's commands to Israel are the most grinding. They almost leave you ill or in a bad mood. Well, it does for me. Which really makes perfect sense. No one likes the Law.
God supplying manna. It can't get much easier than this.

Typically when I read the Bible, God shows me all kinds of crazy cool things that are not at all popular Christian view points. I see things differently (Job 34:21). This is why so many reject my message...at first. It may take a couple of months or even a few years, but soon they'll come around.

Much of what I write about is an interchange of ideas and understanding the Spirit shows me. It's like he replaces my old habits, theology, and understanding for something more real (Rom 6:14).

But, there's a problem. This rarely happens when I read the Law. All this Law stuff is taxing on my soul and even physically demanding. It's a spiritual battle. I try hard not to let the Old School bother me, but it's ingrained. So much of the Law has been invested in me by my family, friends, and pretty much every church (or denomination) I've ever attended.

However, there's one command in the Old Testament that stands out more than the rest. It actually gives life (as crazy as that sounds). Most of you know about the Ten Commandments. All the Law is based off these 10 rules. If I were to tell you one of these Laws gave life most of you would think of the one command that includes a promise. "Honor thy father and mother...," but this isn't the one I'm referring to (Eph 6:1-3).

This is the one I want to talk about:

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exo 20:8).

I know. Awesome, right? Haha! Ok, maybe not so much.

There's a HUGE misconception about this one Law.

Whenever most Christians read the Bible, they typically see things from a receiving point of view. However, this is what I'm trying to "beat out of you." Stop looking at anything with your own eyes or with any preconceived ideas.

It's all about your point of view, right? Instead of looking at the world from your perspective, see what God sees. See with his eyes. We tend to read the Bible from a slave standpoint; a person receiving a command; a person being told what to do. We read God's commands and we blindly follow them like it's a task that God gave specifically to you and me. However, this is the lie. He didn't give the Law to you. He gave it to slaves (Israelites) from Egypt. He has a very different plan for you (Jer 29:11).

Out of all the commands God gave his people, the one about keeping the Sabbath day holy is the most ironic.

God gives Israel a command that literally forces them to do nothing. It forces them to rest. He wants them to do no work at all, and they are only allowed to eat, drink, and enjoy the day.

He makes them prepare everything they need on the sixth day so they can relax on the Sabbath (Exo 20:9-10). When the seventh day arrives there's nothing left to do. They eat and have fellowship. No other command is more welcoming to follow. It's like the government forcing us to do nothing, but chill one day a week. Now, that's my kind of Law.

Why is God making everybody sit around?

You have to understand that these Israelties were the least confident people on Earth. They were always worried, scared, and full of anxiety (Exo 16:1-3). For one reason or another, they never fully trusted God with their livelihood (much like Christians today). You can tell this through their murmuring and unbelief (Exo 16:9-12). Therefore, God and Moses came up with a plan to ensure these people learned to trust God the "hard way." God decided to force everyone to rest. Resting = trusting. They never trusted Moses or made God their rock (Mat 7:24-27). He wanted to force them to see who was their provider.

Not only did God want his people to rest and trust him, God likes his people to follow his lead. The whole reason he gave this command is because it's what he did:

"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exo 20:11).

If he rests, he wants you to rest too. If God trusted the work he created, then he wants you to trust his work too. After creating the world, he felt the need to chill; to sit back and sip some tea.

Also, why did he make this day holy? Because on the seventh day he saw it was all good (Gen 1:31). Everything was holy and pure in his sight. After God worked for 6 days, everything was perfect and right where it needed to be. Yes, this even includes the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and even the serpent in the garden.

But not only that, Israel was right where he wanted them to be too. They were in the wilderness with nothing. All they had was gold and silver which had no value in the wilderness (Exo 12:35-36). They had to rely on God for everything they needed to survive. God intentionally did everything he could to show his people that he would take care of them no matter what (Exo 16:6-8). I mean, when the God of the Universe parts the sea for you and magically makes bread appear on the ground, then you might want to get a clue.

There was another reason he forced everyone to rest. Just before God gave the command for Israel to observe the Sabbath, everyone was complaining about how "good" they had it back in Egypt (Exo 16:2-3). I don't know what kind of slave misses their slave masters, but these idiots did just that. Instead of being amazed at what God did to save their lives and bring them true freedom, they complained about how "bad" things were in the wilderness (Phi 4:11-13). They started complaining to Moses about wanting food like they had in Egypt.

Even though they complained and never trusted him, did God give up on them? No. Instead, he gave them what they asked for. He sent quail and manna for them to eat (Exo 16:13-16). These were two more crazy supernatural events on top of all the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea that God performed. It was something he did, and nothing they could ever do. Once again, God did all the work.

However, there was a catch. After sending the manna, they could only gather enough for their family for that day. Not a bit more or less. But of course, they didn't listen. Guess what they did? Exactly what you would expect. Some chose to collect more manna and some gathered less (Exo 16:17). These people had one job, however they still found a way to mess it up and disobey God's direct order.
When will you finally rest and enjoy the work God did for you.

God kept fixing the mess these people created. With everything they "broke," God ensured the work he started, finished the job (Exo 16:17-21). When God does something, it's done right...no matter how badly we jack it up.

God tried to do everything to prove that they would always be well taken care of. He could have performed all the miracles in the world, but it wouldn't matter. It was all a waste of his time (John 20:24-29). There was nothing he could do to convince these knuckleheads that he would take care of them no matter what. So, he laid down the Law one more time. He gave them the Sabbath to keep holy. He forced them to rest and trust him.

Do you know anyone like this? Do you know anyone that believes God hasn't done enough, already? Do you know anyone that forgets God's miracles and continues to live in fear for their lives and others?

I do. They're called Christians. Everyday these people see their needs met, but it's never enough. They even know what God did through Jesus, but they don't trust he was good enough to save the world (John 3:17). It's like Christians always have to do something. They have to perform work, or believe a certain way, or do something to make them feel righteous or good about themselves. It's just too hard for them to trust Jesus.

All that Christians do is the same ole thing the slaves did. Never trusting God that his work was enough. Never resting and enjoying all the work God did for them. Never believing the miracles they see everyday.

Stop trying to do anything and enjoy the freedom God purchased for you. Rest in knowing that you have everything you need (Psa 23:1-3).

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