Take a load off. Sit for a while. Rest...
I was struck again with this idea when reading in Numbers 15. Throughout the Old Testament, God offers, over and over, a 'way out' or an avenue for forgiveness from sin. In this chapter, He enunciates the pathway for recovery and forgiveness for unintentional sin. And, then, BAM... right in the middle of the passage, we read about the "Sabbath-Breaker" who is to be put out of the camp and stoned to death. No restitution is offered. There was no-way back from THIS sin. What, Lord!?
Sabbath is clearly really, really important to God. I wouldn't even attempt to count how often He reiterates this truth in the Old Testament; but, indeed, He does again, and again.
In Numbers 15, we are given clarity as to why this Sabbath-breaker is punished. His sin was deliberate, Scripture tells us. Rebellious. He had contempt for God's commands. "He has despised the word of the Lord." (Numbers 15:31)
But what was he actually rebelling against? What was He despising exactly? What was offensive to him... this condemned man? A day-off!? For Sabbath is a day of rest. No work. A day for worship. Quiet. Why in the world would he (or we) rebel against that?
(Now, let me just pause here and make very clear that I believe, as a child of God and one covered by the blood of Jesus, I am no longer under the law. I know and believe that Christ died for intentional and unintentional sin! And His blood covers all rebellion, curses, iniquity, and transgressions... and every thing in between. ...just in case you were worried. But, that doesn't lessen the reality of God's heart and character being the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. So, I also believe, this conversation is immensely important.)
So, why in the world would this man rebel against rest, quiet and no work?
Or, more poignantly, what do I resist or despise the gift of Sabbath?
Ezekiel 20:12 says, "I gave (a gift!) them my Sabbath (note whose it is) as a sign between me and them that they might know I am the Lord (note the why behind the giving) who sanctifies them."
In Mark 2:27 Jesus reiterates this theme that Sabbath is for men--- a gift. Made and given for us... for our benefit. Not a legal law to remain under, but instead a gift to receive. Or not.
When reading and sitting with this idea, I was struck by the end of the Ezekiel verse--- I am the Lord who sanctifies them. I looked up the word sanctify and found this definition: "the state of proper functioning". In the Webster definition it adds, for clarity sake, "a pen is sanctified when it is used to write"
I wrote down in my journal: "pens are sanctified when writing. People are sanctified when used for the purpose God intends---living according to His design. People are sanctified when living with God." Sabbath is part of our proper functioning as human beings. Part of our very purpose here on earth is to rest, worship, and enjoy God! It is what we are made for.
When I don't live in the rhythm of Sabbath rest, I am living in an unnatural way. A rebellious way. It is anti-human to work non-stop. Sabbath is clearly very important gift from God to man.
Do I despise it? Fight it? And, if so, why?
Just sit for a while and enter His rest.