May 25 I Thursday
1 Chronicles 25-27
“Truly my soul finds rest in God.” —Psalm 62:1
What do we do on the Sabbath? Some Christians have lost the value of the Sabbath, which was originally given to us for two reasons. Firstly, the Sabbath was to commemorate creation and the finished work of God: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11). Secondly, the Sabbath was to commemorate the redemption and deliverance of Israel from Egypt: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15). The principle here is to take time to rest to thank God for His sufficiency in creation and for His redemption.
There are two kinds of “rest.” The first is physical rest, as the body is not designed to run endlessly. The second is internal rest for the soul. Many of us make the mistake of believing that if we rest the body, the soul will look after itself. Probably the reverse is nearer the truth. We will find that we have physical resources we did not know we had when the internal life is rested. We can also have two very different experiences of these rests at the same time; we can be physically stretched, yet at rest within our souls, or we could be physically inactive, yet drained within ourselves.
There was a man who challenged another to an all-day wood-chopping contest. The challenger worked hard, stopping only briefly for a lunch break. The other man ate lunch leisurely and took several breaks throughout the competition. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. The challenger said, “I don’t get it. Every time I checked, you were taking a rest! How did you chop more wood than I did?” The winning woodsman answered, “You did not notice that I was sharpening my axe when I sat down to rest.” Rest is not necessarily inactivity; it may instead be a time to “sharpen the axe” so we can regain and replenish our strength.
As we take time to reflect on our Sabbath, how do we rest? Are we resting our soul in the Lord as well as our physical body? May we actively engage in resting our bodies and souls, giving thanks to God for His sufficiency in creation and for His redemption.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank You for Your sufficiency in creation and for Your redemption. My body and soul find rest in You alone. Amen!