Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Hebrews 4:1-11 (NRSV)
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day—“today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.
In reading for today, I wondered what the Sabbath, or rest, looked like according to the Jewish tradition. Our faith relatives know how to rest! Shabbat begins in the Jewish culture on Fridays, at sunset. It lasts approximately 25 hours until sunset on Saturday. According to tradition, no chores, cleaning, cooking, or work is to be done in that 25-hour period. Customarily, families are to gather together, drink wine, eat bread called challah, and celebrate the covenant of God bestowed upon God’s children. Some modern Jewish practices prohibit television, in order to encourage family time.
I don’t know about you but that sounds very attractive to me! I could learn a few things from our Jewish peers. We are living in a fast-paced world. It seems to me that when I am off work, that is the only free time I have to do chores, cook for the week, and watch my favorite television shows. Yet, when I get to work again, I have a serious case of the Mondays. I’m still tired! It is perfect that God calls us to honor the 4th commandment and breathe, rest, and celebrate the covenant God has bestowed upon us as the beloved. God doesn’t command us to be busy with other things than work, God calls us to be surrounded by those we love and enjoy life. What an amazing God!
One day this week, I urge us all to take one day for Sabbath. True Sabbath. Surround yourselves with family, let go of the “to do” list, and take time to celebrate all that God has provided for our lives.
God, thank you for making Sabbath one of the Ten Commandments and for asking us to come to you and rest. Help us loosen our hardened hearts from exhaustion. Forgive our need for control with busyness. Help us to take a breath, take a break, and rest. Amen.
Go with God!