Rest- The Second Reason

Here’s the third entry to Hope Center’s Rest Blog.  Again you can check it out here!

We do hope that you are enjoying experimenting with Rest.  If you’ve not yet been able to try some of these things, don’t worry because it’s not too late.  Start today, start tomorrow or start this weekend.  Just be intentional and carve out some time.

Recently I came across something in the 10 commandments that was really interesting.  The 10 Commandments are given twice, first in Exodus 20 and then again Deuteronomy 5.   In both passages, only some of the commandments have reasons attached to them.  For example the second commandment reads, “You shall not make for yourself an Idol…For I, the Lord your God, am a Jealous God…”  (Exodus 4 & 5).

Keeping the Sabbath, which is the fourth commandment, also has a reason attached to it.  Yet what has caught my attention is that the Exodus and Deuteronomy passages actually provide different reasons for Sabbath keeping.  As far as I can tell, this is the only significant difference between the two sections, which I think provides some unique insights into our understanding of Rest.

In exodus 20, the given reason for Sabbath practice is creation itself.  God set the example and established the rhythm of our lives in the earliest part of Genesis.  We do it because he did.  We do it because this is how he created us and our world to work.  So in light of Exodus 20, we are invited to live the life God intended for us.

10 commandments cartoon

However Moses’ reasoning has changed in the Deuteronomy passage.  Chapter 5, verse 15 reads, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there…”  This second reason is that they were once slaves.  They’d had to work tirelessly.  Each day and every day they were forced into labor.  Without a weekend, or sick days, or vacation, or retirement, or REST: just the life of mindless, brutal obedience to an ungrateful, uncompassionate task-master.

God rescued them from it and reminds them to simply keep the Sabbath because they now can.  They were once unable to rest and they have been set free.  God is simply inviting them to live in freedom.

You’re not a slave.  That is to say that nobody owns you.  Rather you live in a world which values freedom and if you’re in Christ, then you too have been set free from the slavery of sin.  Yet with all these freedoms, we have somehow found ourselves living as voluntary slaves.  We voluntarily bow down to the “to-dos” and “shoulds” of our busy lives.  We may not have been slaves in Egypt, but we have been in a materialistic, accomplishment-driven western world.

Yet God still offers us the same invitation: to practice Sabbath because He has overcome.  And so we are challenged to set down the chains of our bondage and rest: not because we have to or even because it is what’s best (though it is what’s best), but simply because we have been set free.

Invitations to Rest:

Choose one day this week and do nothing.  Invite your friends and family to do nothing with you.

Choose one thing on your to-do list this week that is not absolutely necessary and replace it with something life giving.

Think of one type of entertainment that you use regularly (T.V., Radio, Music, etc..) and prune that out for a week.

Dinner Table Discussions:

What has been the hardest thing about resting and/or experimenting with rest for you in these last 3 weeks?

Has anything stopped you from rest?

What joys, triumphs or breakthroughs have you experienced either in or because of rest?

Read Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-16.  Why do you think Moses was led to change the reasoning for the Sabbath?  How do these two reasons add depth to your own Sabbath/rest practice?


One thought on “Rest- The Second Reason

  1. Pingback: DSNY Family » The Great Exodus

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