Monday, April 30, 2012

Get Some Rest!

Psalm 55:20-23
20 My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
21 His talk is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.

Leviticus 23
23 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.

The Sabbath
3 “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
4 “‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. 8 For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’”
Offering the Firstfruits
9 The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah[b] of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the Lord, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin[c] of wine. 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

Mark 7:9-23 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16] 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Reflections: It is interesting to see the interplay between Leviticus, where Moses is giving the Israelite the Law that will set them apart from the other nations to reveal God’s holiness and goodness, and the gospel where Jesus is confronting the leaders who have swayed so far from the spirit of the law. The fourth commandment is to honor your father and mother, and Jesus is confronting the leaders for their teaching that people should take what they might use for their parents and saying it is “Corban” or devoted to God. With their traditions they are nullifying the Word of God.

In the beginning of Leviticus, we see the first commandment of honoring the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Isn’t interesting that we often violate the Sabbath under the same guise of that we “are doing something for the Lord”, or working beyond our capacity. It's telling that we sometimes are doing things for God or others in violations of God’s command to have a Sabbath. I can only speak for my own profession but “workaholism” is a one of the dangers of being a pastor, because we are always doing something for God. But God also tells us to honor the Sabbath Day and rest, which is being obedient to him as well.

Take some time to look at your rhythm of work and rest. It is only as we take time to abide in Him and truly rest that we can be productive and bear much fruit (John 15). Do you have regular times of abiding on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis? Remember it is a command of God, and is for our own good!

In distress you called, and I rescued you. Psalm 81:7

Jesus said to the disciples, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" Mark 4:40

Savior, thank you for the blessed assurance that we may wipe out fears with faith. Thank you for giving us your story to tell and sing all the day long. We are blessed beyond measure by your grace. Amen.

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