Lenten Devotional – March 29, 2023

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Scripture: Exodus 31: 12-17
By Michaela Eskew

“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.” Exodus 31: 16

Sabbath is likely one of the hardest commandments to keep in the modern world. It is also one of the most complex commandments that we have. It is not as simple as don’t lie or don’t murder. It is also not as understandable as no other gods before me or not to take the Lord’s name in vain. But it is listed there with all the other important rules and it comes up often in the many longer lists of rules we have in the Bible. So, why would rest be so important to God and to God’s people?

First, God set an example when he created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh day. We often say that God created the world in seven days, but God only worked for six. To God, that day of rest is to be included in the hard work, a symbol of the important work of rest.

Second, God is giving these commandments to a people that were just slaves in Egypt. They never had a day off; they were constantly forced to work long days at hard work. This is a great gift that God is giving them. But God knew this rule would be hard so he put the harshest punishment possible to those who broke it: death. Obviously, no one today is killed for working or traveling too far on a Sunday, but when did we lose the importance of this commandment? When did we start ranking which commandments were better for us?
Rest is important for the work we do throughout the week. Without proper rest, we lose focus and attention, we stop learning things and we stop growing. God wants what is best for us and that includes a day of rest.
Do you feel “too busy”? Do you have moments of rest in your week? Is God challenging you to spend more time on rest, maybe even an entire 24 hours?

Prayer: Lord, help us to prioritize this commandment. Help us to find the time in our week to take a breath, take a moment, take a sabbath. Amen. 

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