Summary: Remembering that we need to take time out and pause -- to rest our bodies, and to rest with God.
I remember growing up on Sundays we would always take time out of each week, go to church, and then we would rest and spend an afternoon together as a family and friends in fellowship and relationship. My folks didn’t go off to their jobs on Sundays, and all of the house-work was done the day before; Sunday’s was a day purely for doing not much of anything after church. But not all people, or organizations, practice resting one day each week.
I served for 9 years in the Navy, and I can tell you the military does not guarantee a full Sabbath day of rest – the mission always takes priority. I remember deployments all too well; I served on an aircraft carrier for 4 years, and during that time I spent at least ½ of that time out to sea. Being out to sea was rough; we worked 7 days a week. And even though services were offered, at the time I wasn’t interested in spending time with God. I remember learning the commandments as a child, but back then I chose not to apply them – either by the letter or the spirit of the law.
I don’t think too many people in our society are any better. So often these days we constantly run around doing this and that, and working our tails off. All for what: a paycheck, a nicer home, to drag the kids from one thing to the next? I mean really, just look at what’s going on in our church communities – all in all attendance and participation in Christian fellowship and the worship of God has diminished in recent years.
And here’s the kicker… in the midst of all our running we are neglecting the one thing that really binds us to God and one another – and that is relationship. Just look at how Americans enter into relationships these days – much of the time it is virtual. How often have you sat in your church and got online via your cell phone or laptop and perused Facebook? Now, I am all for virtual relationships, but they really don’t allow us time to simply be with one another and rest in one another’s presence.
You know, God created humankind in His image; that means we were created to be in relationship with God and others, and, as God works and rests; we – in His image – also need to rest from our work. Let’s examine together what God has to say about resting and relationship.
I think it is really interesting that the first word God chose for us in this passage is “remember”. I can’t tell you how many times I have read this passage and have always missed this word “remember.” My mind usually focuses in on the “observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Have you ever done this? As important as God’s command is, I believe the Lord is trying to say something far deeper.
Why not just simply say, “observe the Sabbath and keep it holy”? I mean, why else would He tell us that we need to “remember.” And being that we’re to remember, what is then that we need to remember? I believe this is a really good question for us to ask; because, if we don’t answer this question we may simply continue running rough shot over the rest of the passage.