Rest, Remember, Rejoice!

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 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, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:12-15

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth.” Isaiah 58:13-14

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” 
Psalm 9:1-2

In the beginning, God rested after six days of creating the heavens and the earth, blessing the seventh day as holy. On Sinai, He established an end-of-week Sabbath rest for His people from the pattern He’d set in Eden. In Deuteronomy (the “second law”), Moses recounts the giving of the ten commandments and includes the caveat that this day of rest should involve reflection on God’s delivering them out of slavery. He set apart the day for pausing from a normal schedule and self-driven pleasure to delight in Him, to remember His great salvation from sin’s captivity and rejoice in His freedom. ‘Remember where you were, and where you are going.’ (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11)

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In days of turmoil and hours of frenzy, we seldom stop to contemplate. The God who made us knew our human tendencies, and how vital it is for our spiritual health and outlook to clear our vision, get perspective, and be thankful. Every present Sabbath is an opportunity not only to reflect on God’s past deliverances, but to rejoice in the soul-rest Jesus gives now and look forward with glad expectancy to the ultimate rest He promises. (Matthew 11:28-29; Hebrews 4:9-11)

When engulfed in a tumult of chaos and violence and agitated emotions, our hearts can rest in Jesus. He who ordered the original Sabbath as a sign has won our ultimate one at the cross, where He overcame sin and death, injustice and pain, confusion and despair. His sure promises are trustworthy. Will we take Him at His word, and choose to rest in the true respite and peace offered in Him alone? (John 16:33)

Good Father, keep me regularly still long enough to remember, to look both back and forward at all You have done and will do. Lift my heart above the fray to rest and rejoice in You, Ruler over all.

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