There are many gems in today’s reading. Of course, we recognize right off the 10 Commandments. We’ll look at that here in just a bit. First of all, I want to make sure you don’t miss something I almost missed. Verses 2-4 say, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today. At the mountain the Lord spoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire.” What’s our take-away?
That Moses wanted to make it clear to the people he was talking to (and that includes us today) that God gave this covenant to “us.” Understand that the people he was addressing were, for the most part, not the ones who stood at the base of the mountain witnessing God first hand. Those people have already died, and it is their offspring listening to Moses now. It would be easy for them to say, those laws were given to “them,” not us. The law from God was given to them, and to us, and we are then given the responsibility to keep the commandments and pass them on to the next generation as if given directly to us. Cool huh?
Jesus had died. There was an emptiness to the world that was hard to describe. A loneliness that seemed to have no end. How could life go on as usual? Imagine the despair that was coupled with fear. I imagine the disciples thought they might be next because of their associations with Jesus. Did any of Jesus’ friends remember his words that he would rise on the third day? For today, let’s also put that knowledge aside. Like Jesus’ followers then, let us be lost in our grief.
Then there was Joseph. A secret follower of Jesus. He had a position on the high council of all things. What would the others think of him now? He boldly came forward and asked for Jesus’ body. He took great care to place Jesus in a fresh tomb. His respect was evident. He had put his reputation on the line here. What would the fallout for that be? Joseph didn’t care. He had been waiting for the Kingdom of God. He had found Jesus, the King himself.
Our last reading was about obeying God and taking the sabbath rest he intends for us. Today’s passage continues to focus on our need to rest in response to God’s provision. He has prepared it for us, so we should gratefully accept and enjoy. If we don’t, we are being disrespectful to God’s wishes. The author says that only those who believe can enter the rest. If we don’t take God up on his offer, are we saying we don’t believe?
If we say, “I don’t have time to rest,” that, too, is pretty lame. I’ve said those words myself, many times. Now as I’m reflecting on this passage, I’m feeling empowered to do better at resting. I’ve asked forgiveness for all the times of rest I’ve missed out on and set aside the feelings of guilt. Telling God we don’t have time for him is exactly what we’re doing when we fail to take his rest. Ouch – are you feeling empowered yet? Continue reading “Hebrews 4:1-11 – Rest is Important”
Sabbath rest. What does that mean to you? God worked and worked for six days to create everything that exists, and then he rested on the 7th day. He wants us to rest as well, keeping a day holy and reserved for him. How many of us do what God is asking of us? If we’re working a job 5 days a week, our weekends are precious, and we use the time to get stuff done. How could we ever just sit around and spend time with God? That’s what he wants.
Our passage says, “don’t harden your hearts.” We don’t want to be like those disobedient children in the wilderness who turned from God and refused to do what God told them to do. They were never going to enter rest with God. I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about having God upset with me. Will he be upset if I do some work on my day of Sabbath rest? I’ll have to ask him someday. Continue reading “Hebrews 3:7-19 – Time to Rest”
Jesus is always surprising us and acting “outside the box” of what was expected of a religious leader at that time. But Jesus was more than a religious leader, he was “Lord.” The religious leaders of the time were so caught up in tradition and rules made around the commands of God, they forgot how to be human.
It is so fitting that Jesus would heal on a Sabbath. There are some things that should have no restrictions. Healing would be one of those exceptions. Jesus felt compassion on a woman who had been severely crippled for 18 years. 18 years!! I’ve been married to the love of my life for 18 years, as I write this devotion, and while these have been 18 of the best years of my life, it’s a long time! Continue reading “Luke 13:10-17 – Whenever”