Text: Genesis 2:1-3
Never has more work been accomplished in six days. The universe went from vast nothingness and emptiness to what it is as we know it by a few words of God in only six 24 hour days. Then God looked out at all that he had created and realized that it was “very good. So God rested.
God wasn’t tired though. He didn’t need to take a break in his recliner and eat Doritos while watching college football for a while. He rested in that he simply stopped his work of creating. But God was setting a precedent for rest to be carried forward until he would bring an end to the universe he made.
The Hebrew word for rest in Genesis 2 is shabbat. Shabbat is where we get our English word Sabbath. With this sabbath that the Lord took and with the 7th day of sabbath that he ordained, God was establishing the extreme importance of rest.
Labor Day is a great day that Americans love to find rest on. People head to the beach. They grill burgers and hot dogs. They enjoy a relaxing day with family or friends away from work.
Physical rest is a very important thing. God does want us to take care of the bodies he has blessed us with. Sufficient rest and relaxation are necessary for physical health and mental sanity.
At the same time, there is rest that is much more important. The sabbath that God took on the 7th day also points to the eternal sabbath that all people will enjoy in the paradise of heaven. And as God ordained sabbath for all people, God was also establishing the importance of spiritual sabbath.
In worship, in devotions, in Bible study, and most specifically in our Savior Jesus, we find spiritual sabbath. In him we find rest for our souls. In him we find a Savior who gives us eternal rest for our souls.
As we enjoy this day of rest today, we can remember the benefit of rest for our bodies. Yet also on Labor Day we can be reminded of the necessity of spiritual rest for our souls on a regular, daily basis. Finally, on Labor Day and every day we can look forward to the eternal paradise of heaven where both body and soul will rest forever.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, give rest to my weary soul each and every day. Refresh and renew me with your Word and Sacraments. Guide me through this wearisome life until I rest with you forever in heaven. In your name I pray, Amen.
Text: Mark 2:23-28
There was a time in the not too distant past when it was considered shameful to dance . . . it was sinful to play card game . . . it was wrong to drink even a sip of alcohol apart from the Lord’s Supper. While those rules are far from the norm for this current generation leaders, parents always have and always will create rules to legislating morality. In Jesus’ day there were hundreds of laws that the religious leaders had set up to keep people a healthy distance from real trouble. Very specific laws had been written to guard the Sabbath day, a day that God designated as a day of rest and worship.
The problem with legislating morality is that living by the rules will only get you so far. Living by a certain set of rules will never fix your relationship with God, it will never get you to heaven because to be right with God you need to follow all of God’s rules perfectly and in that you have already failed.
It’s not that rules and laws are bad things in and of themselves. God has made very clear how humans are to live we should not abandon his rules for our lives. Keeping that in mind, however, we are not and cannot be slaves to the law because if you want to be saved by the law heaven will never be yours. We are slaves to Christ Jesus who came and fulfilled God’s law for us. Jesus changes the way we look at rules. Rules are not something that we follow and make up because we hope they will get us somewhere. We strive to follow God’s rules out of love for a God who loved us. We were not made to follow rules, God’s rules exist so that we have know the correct way to live our lives in a thankful offering back to God. God’s rules are not made to be broken, but neither are they made to be worshiped.
God give us the strength to see his laws not as a feather to put in our cap but as a way to show love to the One who loved us enough to die for us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father we thank you for giving us your law to show us our sinfulness, and our need for a Savior. Most of all we thank you for sending your Son to fulfill the requirements of the law on our behalf. Help us to see and treat your rules with the proper respect, neither making them into a requirement for salvation nor ignoring the importance of following them. Send the Holy Spirit into our hearts to give us wisdom and zeal to live according to your laws. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
The Third Commandment
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Did you ever win a perfect attendance award? I went to a smaller school and at the end of the year the whole school would gather in the church, those who had never missed a day would be called up front and given a certificate for their perfect attendance. Everyone would clap and those select few would return to their seats beaming with pride. I wanted that experience! One year my parents planned to take a trip to Disney from my home in Michigan. They planned to take us out of school for a few days to make this trip happen. My biggest concern… would this trip ruin my chance of getting my perfect attendance award?
What if God gave out perfect attendance awards for his Sabbath day, for church? Read the rest of this entry