It is hard to know exactly, but about 500-650 years have passed since God promised Abraham that he would be blessed and all peoples would be blessed through him. God’s Story is a long one! Three months after God led the Israelites from Egypt, He was ready to make a very personal covenant with His people. Were His people ready to live out their part of the agreement?
At Mount Sinai, with dense smoke coming from the mountain, God spoke what we would later refer to as the Ten Commandments. Right before the commandment “Honor your mother and father”, God gave this one: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 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… 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.”
The Israelites’ leader was God Himself and they learned that loyalty and allegiance is shown through obedience, even when obeying is hard. Resting is a difficult thing for me. I think my issue with this command ultimately has to do with trust. Do I trust that God is really in control and that things will not fall apart if I put my lists aside to rest? My head knows the right answer, but living out what I know is right is an on-going process.
During the years of raising our family while working in Asia, two of my most cherished rests were vacations only an hour’s drive from home. Leaving behind the computer and language books and packing lots of snacks and board games we “camped out” at a mountain hotel near a British soccer camp that our kiddos attended. In the crisp morning air Russ took the kids to training and I took long runs in the countryside and allowed my mind to be refreshed in the beauty of God’s creation. Afternoons and evenings were intentionally restful as we enjoyed being together as a family. God has blessed us to rest. In fact, as part of the Ten Commandments, He has commanded us to do so each week as we set aside time to purposely meet with Him. Just like the Israelites of the Old Testament, when we obey, we live out our loyalty.