This week Pastor James continued speaking on the Sabbath.  He began by sharing a story from when he and his wife had been married about 5 years.  He was working hard in ministry and construction to provide for his family yet was rarely completely present at home.  One day his wife met him at the door in tears telling him just a few words:  “I need you more than the extra money.”  The truth was that he was miserable, and so was his family.  That was a turning point at which he began to trust God that He would provide.

We are promised in Hebrews 4:9-11 that there is a Sabbath, a rest, for the people of God.

Read Hebrews 4:9-11

the “example of disobedience” was referring to the Israelites.  God delivered them from Egypt, yet their failure in the desert was their lack of trust in God.

Exodus 14:10-12

It was never God’s intention that the Israelites would die in the wilderness.  He actually went out of His way to provide a way, yet here they were, not even out of Egypt’s sight, already questioning.

verse 13-14 – Moses’ words.  He told them that the Lord would fight for them, and He did, while they had to do nothing.

Israel never fully bought into God’s plan.  They continued to worship idols, complain about His provision, and worse of all, they rejected the rest that He was providing them.

The wilderness was harder than they thought.  It was the middle ground between captivity and promise, yet it was never God’s intention for them to remain in the desert.  Everything was meant to bring them to the place of promise.  We get so caught up in the deserts of life, believing that it’s God’s final plan for us.  We try to make it as comfortable as possible even when it’s not where we are intended to reside.

God’s intent was to give the Israelites rest, something they did not have when they were in Egypt.  They, however, lost sight of the destination.  They responded to God when it was convenient but then went back to their old ways.  They spent very little time with Him.

We do the same thing.  We go, go, go until it fails and then we cry out that God respond.  We schedule rest out of our life because there is to much to do.  Church becomes a way to pay respects to God rather than a place to receive from Him.

We wait until the point of brokenness to ask for rest, but He still responds, meeting us in our very moment of need, all the while wanting to share with us that there is a better way.

Psalm 23 – the best picture of Sabbath

It deals with the place where most of us live – the valley of the shadow of death, dealing with our enemies.

In the midst of it all, we take comfort in the rod – used not only to discipline, but to keep the enemies at bay.

Verse 5 – He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies.  We often feel this way – surrounded on every side by our enemies and the trials of life, yet He chooses those times, when the struggles are there, to prepare us a place of rest.

what an incredible picture of God’s intent in the midst of our struggles.  He comes to a worries, stressed out man and tells Him to sit.  He puts on the apron and begins to serve us.

He invites our enemies to the table so that they too can see what the provision of a loving Father looks like.

Once we are seated, verse 5 tells us, He comes and anoints us with the oil of gladness, all being done in the presence of our current circumstances.  While the world is working to fix the problem, our Father is telling us to sit in His presence, anoint us with gladness, and produce the testimony of a favored child.

That is what Sabbath is.

We blame our struggles on our lack of rest, but its in those struggles that He wants us to rest.

Ezekiel 20:20 – Keep the Sabbath holy, and know that He is God.  How do we know that He is God?  We sit at the table that He has prepared for us and trust Him.

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Regardless of your struggle, there remains a sabbath rest for you.  It doesn’t matter your situation, He has prepared a place for you, with all of your enemies around, so that they can see what the love of a Father looks like.

Do you need this kind of rest today?

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