Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on October 26, 2016, is provided by Andy Kim who is an associate pastor at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. Andy is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.S.) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Meaning of Sabbath”
For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Imagine a day without your phone or hot water, and you cease from any type of activity, such as cooking. Many of us are probably thinking of some mission trip far away, but in the Jewish tradition, this is a weekly ordeal when observing the day of rest—the Sabbath. For a Christian’s Sabbath, it begins with a groggy morning, pressing the snooze button several times, a busy Sunday of serving and fellowship, an inevitable afternoon nap, and catching up on last minute chores. And before you know it, it’s time to sleep and you’re thinking of how quickly the weekend had passed, or how crazy the week ahead will be. If I were to consider a proper Sabbath, I would argue that the Jews have done a better job of grasping this. Lauren Winner writes: “But there is something in the Jewish Sabbath that is absent from most Christian Sundays: a true cessation from the rhythms of work and world, a time wholly set apart, and perhaps above all, a sense that the point of Shabbat, is toward God.”
In this passage, the writer teaches that our rest originates from God’s rest after creation was completed. Warren Wiersbe explains God’s rest as a “rest of satisfaction, not a rest after exhaustion” from the completion of His work. And as believers, we look to the finished work of Christ who made us complete in Him. In Christ, we are able to trust in His works and not our own to be holy and pleasing to God. This is why rest is so vital to our lives, for we live in a world where we are constantly asked to do more and to be defined by our work. It is more than a day of inactivity or even an extra day to catch-up; it is a day we remind ourselves that our identity and worth comes from Christ’s perfect work.
The Sabbath was created for man so that we may depend on the work of Christ and not our own. It is the total acceptance and complete surrender to Him, for apart from God, there can only be restlessness. As the writer says, rest is made available for us today to experience as mere glimpses of the eternal rest that waits in eternity. Let us be diligent to enter that rest both here and in eternity.
Prayer: Father, thank You for creating the Sabbath for us. We confess that many times we do not make it holy because of our lack of complete trust in You. Help us not to find our value and identity in the work that we do, but only in the completed work of Jesus Christ. Teach us to Sabbath well as your people. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Chronicles 6
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 10:38-42: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Questions to Consider
- What is Jesus trying to highlight here?
- What is the danger of having the mentality of Martha?
- How does Mary have the confidence to just sit at Jesus’ feet?
- A common mistake is to think that Mary did something good and Martha did something bad. However, notice that Jesus says that Mary chose to do the better, which does not discount Martha’s act of service toward Jesus. Martha was more worried about what she could do for Jesus, while Mary focused on being with Jesus. He is saying that there is a time and place to serve, but more importantly, we must set our time to spend with Him.
- Ironically, it was her serving that prevented her from listening and spending time with the Lord. This gave Martha anxiety and even perhaps a sense of bitterness toward Mary. The temptation of being too service-orientated is to compare ourselves to others and judge their dedication in service, or in this case, the lack of service.
- Mary breaks a lot of social rules here, because as a woman, she was expected to serve the guests to even be acknowledged. However, Jesus makes it clear that His relationship with Mary is something that cannot be taken away. Our value and identity comes not from our actions, but from Christ alone.
Spend some time reflecting on the idea of rest in your life. Is it a foreign word that you’re too busy for? Are you burned out? In a world that demands our attention every minute, spend a few moments away from everything. May there be a constant rhythm of rest in our lives so that we may focus on being with Him more than doing things for Him. Let us look to the eternal promise of rest that awaits all of us.