Friday, January 27, 2017

Exodus 31:17 -- On Resting and Refreshing

"It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
Exodus 31:17

This is talking about the Sabbath day, and it goes a little bit further than the Genesis account of the creation, adding that the Lord rested, and was refreshed.  Maybe that is a small difference, but when I noticed it today, it kind of made me look at the whole thing in a different way.

Resting in my mind is more associated with physical things... sleeping, resting your muscles after a hard day, etc.  Refreshing though seems like more of a mental/emotional/spiritual thing.  My brain gets tired and I need to escape from reality for a while, or my spiritual reserves seem low and I recharge my batteries at church each week, or I feel down and kind of hopeless and so I pray, and God helps me see the hope in the world again.  To me, that's more what the word "refreshed" says to me... that renewal, or restart, that we all need so that we can start fresh again, with more motivation to try and more energy and confidence to do well.

I really like this verse because it reminds me that the Sabbath is about not only physical rest, but also all the other kinds as well.  God wants us to take the time and make sure that we're filling up on all the different kinds of energy rather than depleting ourselves further.  Like the woman at the well, he says to us "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: / But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:13-14).  We might be able to tap other, temporary kinds of energy reserves throughout the week, but God can refresh us in every way as we keep his Sabbath and let him into our lives to lift and bless us with his love and comfort.

Today, let's prepare for the Sabbath day by getting our work done and making sure that God's day will be different.  Let's plan to attend church, to read our scriptures and pray, and to serve others as we are prompted.  Let's fill ourselves with light and truth and the living water that God offers us.  And on the Sabbath, let's relax and allow God to refresh us, taking our minds off the worries and stresses of our everyday lives, and instead thinking of God and putting him first in our thoughts and actions.  Let's take the time to recharge and refill so that we can face the vagaries of life with renewed confidence and hope.

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