Curse and Blessing
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 17:1-27, Exodus 20:8-11, Hebrews 10:22
BY Guest Writer
No one told me this outright, but from an early age I felt that if I stopped doing good things, bad things would happen. On a big and small scale, this seemed to be the way the world worked, at least, I’d perceived it that way. I reasoned that since the world naturally flows toward disorder, my intervention was necessary to hold back the inevitable chaos. Thus began my love affair with productivity. My necessary intervention could range from tackling the mounting pile of dishes in the sink or clothes in the laundry basket, to the gripping fear I feel when I read Edmund Burke’s warning, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I mean, I can’t do nothing!
Productivity is attractive because it feels so reasonable and responsible and grown up. Are we not stewards of God’s creation? Aren’t we doing what God designed us to do by being in constant motion? My heart was drawn to the siren’s call of productivity, but since this heart of mine is also more deceitful than anything else (Jeremiah 17:9), I soon found myself in a dilemma. (Does any of this sound familiar?)
Did God really know what He was asking when He commanded His people to observe the Sabbath, even making it one of the Ten Commandments? Is this really what He intended:
“You are to labor six days and do all your work,
but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.
You must not do any work” (Exodus 20:9–10).
Early on as I read the Old Testament and saw the countless times Israel refused to observe the Sabbath, even with the threat of severe consequences (Jeremiah 17:23), I wondered, How hard can it be to just stop and do nothing?
I now see that God’s command to rest on the Sabbath is really a command to trust Him and live out the blessing of being His dependent child. My posture should be that of Jeremiah: “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (v.14). Like Judah’s rejection of the Sabbath, my own refusal to rest shows my fear of trusting Him, of being needy, and my unwillingness to admit that I am ignorant of what is best for me. Resting is not so easy after all.
However, Jesus has done the unimaginable by taking the curse for our stiff-necked defiance, and instead has given us the rest and assurance that we belong to our Heavenly Father when we receive His gift of grace. Now, we are able to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). We are now free to rest and “proclaim [His] love in the morning and [His] faithfulness at night,” (Psalm 92:2). We are free to enjoy our work as we revel in “all the great things He has done” for us (1 Samuel 12:24).
We are free.
Resting is hardly passive; it is making space to remember and really consider His goodness and faithfulness, and then proclaiming it to others, singing our praise unto Him. This is what my heart truly longs for.
Brooke Kocher is a wife and mother of three. She is a Southern girl at heart and a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest.