Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day of rest

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 16:17-36

TO CHEW ON: "And the Lord said to Moses .... 'See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' So the people rested on the seventh day." Exodus 16:28-30

When God told the people to set aside one day in seven as a rest day He wasn't just making a suggestion. He meant it. Our story today shows that.

God supplied manna, the mysterious sweet wafer-like substance that covered the ground each morning, as food and a test of obedience (yesterday's devo). One rule was to gather the manna each morning and not save any of it overnight. Another was to gather double the usual amount on the morning of the sixth day.

An interesting part of today's story is the rulers coming to Moses on that sixth day morning  to accuse people of doing what they were supposed to. It's as if they hadn't heard that part of Moses' command, or thought that the rule of no-overnight-storage trumped the double-on-the-sixth day one.

This time the people-gatherers were right. For on the morning of the seventh day—surprise! No manna. And the food they had gathered the day before smelled fine and was maggot-free.

And so one day in seven became a rest day for the Hebrews. It is the reason we, in our society with its roots in Judeo-Christian thought, now treat Sundays differently than other weekdays—although more and more we don't. Where I live, stores, restaurants and even some banks are open for business on Sunday. And the temptation is to take advantage of these opportunities to squeeze a little more business into the week.

But a day of rest is one of God's founding principles of life. We keep it, not because we're under the law, but because the One who designed us knows that's what we need to function best. He Himself modeled it when He rested after six days of creation. How can we think we won't do ourselves harm by ignoring this principle in our lives?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to take seriously Your principle of Sabbath — not only as a day of rest but as a day to focus on You. Amen.

MORE: Another reason for sabbath besides rest

Isaiah 58:13-14:
"If you turn away your foot from [traveling unduly on] the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor Him and it, not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking with your own [idle] words,
Then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it" (Amplified).

Luke 4:16 (talking about Jesus):
"So He came to Nazareth, [that Nazareth] where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His custom on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read" (Amplified).
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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