Just Can't Stop

It will be helpful to read the previous three posts to fully understand the next three posts. God handed His people this wonderfully crafted rhythm of rest and renewal - rhythm we'd tend to think they eagerly embraced and enjoyed. But a funny thing happened. The people of Israel didn’t exactly embrace God’s invitation to enjoy a rhythm of Sabbath rests. When you examined the historical evidence what emerges is a spotty record at best, and outright rejection at worst when it came to Israel's Sabbath-keeping. Both the biblical and extra-biblical evidence showcase a people who felt very uncomfortable relinquishing their control over their time, their work, and their provisions in order to simply rest and renew, stopping all activity and replacing it with simple trust in God for an entire day or an entire year.When it came to the weekly Sabbath day Israel did try to celebrate it, but not without problems. God, at times, had to remind them through His prophets how important it was to enter into Sabbath rest. Through Isaiah He reminded His people that part of the moral breakdown in their society came from continuing to do business as they pleased on the Sabbath.  In Isaiah 58:13-14 God told them, “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight . . . and you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words then . . . I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” Through the prophet Jeremiah God addressed His people’s history of Sabbath avoidance.“Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. But if you are careful to obey me, declares the LORD, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials . . . But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.’” Jeremiah 17: 21-27In the end, when it came to weekly Sabbath, Israel had a conflicted history of both entering into it, and avoiding it. How about you, do you have a conflicted relationship with weekly Sabbath? Why do you think we end up so conflicted about something that's so good for us?