THIS I BELIEVE: REST IS HOLY
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2016 – Exodus 31:16-17
The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.
This text reports the last thing God says to Moses on Mount Sinai before Moses comes down with the original set of tablets of commandments. Common knowledge suggests that a person remembers best, the last thing they hear. Now, I have spared you the shock of this text (Exodus 31:12-17) because twice in this section of scripture God says to Moses, tell my people if they will not rest I will kill them. And once God says, if they don’t rest I will put them out of the community. God seems VERY serious about rest. And, oh yes, God also calls rest holy.
To call something holy means it is set apart for use by God. If this is so, how can rest be holy?
When we set apart time to rest, really rest, we say — by our actions — we trust God enough to continue the world without our efforts. Our willingness to rest says we believe God’s wisdom about our need to rest is more important than our culture’s relentless push to create and accumulate. When we rest, we obey God’s command to restore our bodies by giving them a bit of time off. When we rest, we are setting apart time to be still before God and with ourselves. Rest, naps, daydreaming and simply being still is holy, this I believe. Do you need a nap today? I believe God would be pleased if you found some time to rest.