Wednesday, 10 August 2022
….'When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD.’ -Leviticus 25:2
Sabbath day, Sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee were a prominent part of the Covenant with Israel. They were the first recipients of this wonderful experience from God, which in turn foreshadows the rest a child of God receives in Christ.
The book of Leviticus brings out beautifully the way God has ordained our daily lives to be in the light of God’s word. The key word is 'Holy.' The main theme of this book is: Leviticus_19:2 "...... You must be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. Based on this central theme of becoming a holy & consecrated people, God gave instructions regarding every given area of human life. God was preparing His people to become a holy congregation representing Him in this fallen world. In this context it is to be noted that the law regarding Sabbath and the rest related to it, is interwoven into the Israelite culture. This rest permeated from the very source of this law i.e. God Himself, unto the very last of it, inclusive of the land in which they live. It was an all inclusive rest. This rest is essential for our existence.
In a similar way, we need to rest in our Lord Jesus. The writer of Hebrews tries to bring out this beautiful point from the New Testament perspective. Hebrews_4:10-11 For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall. Hence this rest that God offers to His people needs our full attention. Even though the practical examples of how the Jewish people carried out this ordinance are of little importance to us, it is important to note the very principle of it. It means resting from one’s own desires and actions and allowing God to work through us. This principle is to be practiced in our Christian life—to die to one’s own actions and to live for God. This is the core of Sabbath. Philippians 2:13 says For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Look at the very theme emphasized in the words of our beloved Lord: Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."
How distant we are today from this rest! We tend to lead a life of pleasing our own self that is contrary to what the Bible teaches us. Human souls are always seeking independence from God or trying by their own means to please God. Most times we are far from His purposes, but the love of God binds us to Him, to obey and in turn love Him. Our rest is in believing and completely surrendering our life to our Lord. We then rest from our own works of righteous deeds or willful passions and instead trust in the completed work of Christ on our behalf for our salvation and eternity. Once we start nurturing this wonderful life of fullness then our desire for creating our own life and satisfaction will soon fade away and we start enjoying our Sabbaths.
Listen: God's promise of entering His rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. (Hebrews 4:1)