13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying:`Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (Exo 31:13)
If I did more, maybe I will be worthy of love. If I accomplished more, maybe I can leave a mark and not go down into the void.
If I worked harder, maybe people would like me more. If I wasn’t so lazy, perhaps I could get my father’s approval. If only I could have a few more hours, a few more moments, a little more strength…
If only I didn’t just spend an extra hour today resting, maybe I could have accomplished something…
It is subtle, but it looks just like the so-called puritan work ethic. Lazy boys starve and are cast away. Stupid boys are beaten and mocked. We’re just a little better than that. Read McGuffey. How will your kids learn Latin if you don’t work harder. That Ezekiel 4:9 bread won’t make itself. If you don’t work harder, your family might have to eat store-bought.
Stay vigilant. Don’t mess up. Don’t slack off. Even on the Lord’s day. God hates idleness. You are supposed to be taking a Sabbath, not slacking off. This is what makes this country great. Hard work, hard men. Let the others slack off. We’ve got work to do.
Don’t miss a trick. Don’t miss an opportunity. Pull up your man-pants and do more, do it harder, do it better. How will you get to college if you don’t get straight A’s. Slackers don’t win and losers don’t need to apply.
Perhaps if you weren’t such a lazy slacker, you could get God to pay attention to you. Perhaps if you weren’t so stupid and slow and good-for-nothing, you would be worthy of love…
And to all of these hateful voices, God says, “Stop.
“Take a rest. A Sabbath. You no longer work for the Egyptians. You no longer are a slave to sin. You no longer have to pretend to earn my favor. Child….rest.
“I commanded you to keep my Sabbaths so that you will learn that I the Lord sanctify you.”
I sanctify you…think of those words. Jesus himself pours his water over your head and cleanses you. His blood covers your sins from the sight of God. His righteousness fits your body perfectly. Your body – he made it. He made your mouth, he made your lips. He gave you your words, your speech, your tongue.
He knows that you are dust. This is why you don’t have to work for his favor. He knows you can’t. He carries you. He clothes you. He covers you. It is his pure water that washes all of the filth away.
Just rest, child of God. Just rest. One day in seven.
Silence those voices that tell you that 6 days and 24 hours a day are not enough. He knows you are dust, and need a rest. Buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and take a day. No dishes. No cooking. No cleaning. And just rest. Stop.
God gave this day to you, so that you would know that your Father loves you and knows that you are finite, weak, and human. Your bones need rest. You need rest.
Just stop. One day. Not a work that you do to earn God’s favor, but just stop and rest in his love. He sanctifies you.
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
28 “Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Eze 36:25-28)
This is the Sabbath of God. The Pharisees turned it into a work to do to keep God from killing you. If you do it purely enough, then maybe God will leave you alone.
They missed everything. God gave the Sabbath so that man would know that Jesus is coming. He pours the water. He sheds the blood. He gives the Spirit. He gives rest to the weary soul.
And he gave us very practical instructions. One day in seven, rest. God gives you your daily bread. Your significance is found only in Christ. Your name is already written in the book of life. Your sins are already put away.
You already have God’s approval in Christ. How could you gain more? You already have treasure stored up for you in heaven. How could you gain more.
So rest. Let that email go for today. Let that phone ring for today. This is your day – God has given it to you. It is the Lord’s day, for he has risen from the dead. But he rose from the dead so that you could rest.
Rest, child. Let it go. Put it off. Gather with God’s people. Listen to the Lord grant you grace and peace. Sing praises to him. Pour out your heart to him.
Raise your voice to heaven. Watch the baptismal waters flow and remember that he has cleansed you from all sin.
Taste the bread and drink the wine and remember that his body was broken and his blood shed for you. For you.
So you can rest under his wings.