Day 15

Curse and Blessing

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan

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.

Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "Curse and Blessing"

  1. Hannah says:

    I am exactly the same here – it’s so easy to get caught up with everything else!

  2. Hannah says:

    This is the first time I have taken part in the reading plans here. I have been looking for something that I could do daily and where I can be held accountable by comments. My desire this year is to make more time for reading the bible and deepening my relationship with God – hopefully you don’t mind helping me and challenging me!

    I’m a primary school teacher so the idea of resting is a big one for me. I always have a huge to do list and am responsible for so many things – if I don’t stay organised they simply won’t get done which affects the children. Today I have felt particularly full and with a big to do list so what a challenge for me to be given this passage to read – a welcome challenge!

    It made me realise that a) I can’t do it all on my own and b) I need to make time for God. Jeremiah 17:7-8 really spoke to me today. I want to be that person. I want to trust in the Lord whole-heartedly and not fear when the heat comes, have no worries in drought and never fail to bear fruit. To do that, I definitely can’t do it on my own and spending time with God needs to be a priority.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    My husband and I have been making a point to try and keep the sabbath. I have really seen how restful it has been for him especially. We have been god about saying no to certain things on the sabbath, but we haven’t been saying yes to the right things. For example, we go to church, but when I have down time at home, I could do more praying and less watching tv. Sometimes it isn’t just saying no to certain things, but yes to better things as well.

  4. PamC says:

    A few years ago I stumbled across Shelly Miller’s Sabbath Society. She teaches and shares about Sabbath Rest. I love her writing. She has a book called Rhythms of Rest. You can google her or Sabbath Society. I’m sorry I don’t know how to put a link here. I subscribe to her email. It comes twice a week and it helps remind me so I’m better at remembering.

  5. Susan says:

    “The person who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed IS the Lord, is blessed.” (17:7) My confidence IS the Lord. Yes, I trust IN the Lord, but I must make the Lord my Hope.

  6. Allison Sherwood says:

    I am such a literal person, so when I heard that the sabbath was a day of rest, I have actually worked on making one of my weekend days completely for rest. It’s not always possible – and I can feel the weight when I miss it – but I feel like God truly has set rules and guidelines for us be cause He KNOWS us! I think I find it so easy to remember that the Sabbath is not a power-move, for God to enforce His authority, but a life move in order for us to live optimally!

  7. Tina says:

    Betsy…,~B, is that you? Is that you dear dear friend.??? I have missed seeing you here… hope all is well and that the family is good.. love and hugs to you and yours…❤❤

  8. Angie says:

    Oh this one really hit home today! After a very busy weekend of doing Girl Scout activities (I’m my older daughter’s troop leader), I am wiped out! I am off work today, but have a mile long to do list to catch up on, yet my body keeps telling me I need rest. About a year or two ago, I tried to maintain Sundays as a rest day. Go to church and Sunday School, make an easy lunch and dinner, take a nap, play games with my kids, work on a hobby. It was wonderful. But then activities and running children to events crept back in, as well as feeling the need to catch up on things I didn’t get done throughout the week. I know I need to implement more rest and take my Sundays back as a recovery day, not a make-up day. My body and my mind keep telling me this, and with this devotional God is telling me too! And it is not just about resting and being still. I can totally relate to Brooke’s realization that it has to do with trusting God. I feel the need to make sure I do everything the certain way I want it done, rather than letting it wait or asking for help. But I need to lean more on God, realizing that He is in control, and that I don’t have to carry that heavy load all on my own.

    1. Nancy Hubbard says:

      Me too Angie!

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