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. Betsy says:

    Tina, hello my friend? It is me, B. My browser won’t let me reply directly to you.

    It is so good to see you here. I’ve missed this daily routine in the early hours and all of you wonderful women. How are you? I’m sure I’ve missed so much.

  2. Susan Crosby says:

    Keeping the Sabbath is resting in Him. It’s a matter of the heart not an item on a to do list to be checked off and feel like an accomplishment and a pat on the back. At least that’s the way I believe sometimes I feel sitting in church. Listening intently to the sermon and all of a sudden thinking about organizing my closet. Or praising with a song and all of a sudden finding myself looking at the person in front of me and thinking about how nice her new haircut looks. I know I can get so easily distracted whether at church or home. I have realized that for me distractions are the reasons that I don’t always find that rest in Him. And sometimes it’s intentional because resting in Him might show me things I’d rather ignore. God is a Holy God❤️

  3. Haley Z says:

    What a reading to start the work/school week! Since I can remember, I’ve left it to Sunday’s to catch up from the week before and get a head start on the week upcoming. Sunday’s were my day to labor hard so that my weeks would be easier. Though I mainly mean homework when I think of this (I’m in college), God’s command to save one specific day a week to recognize his holiness and reflect on our lives still applies. I can’t imagine doing nothing on Sunday’s because I’ve had this routine down for so long and am taking an extra course load this semester…Lord, I pray that you open my eyes to your goodness and your commands. I wish to observe you more on the sabbath and reflect upon this wonderful life you have given me. Help me to manage my time so that your day is truly meant for you in my mind and heart. I pray that I learn to trust in you fully and live a life for you. Amen

  4. Katherine Lutes says:

    I always feel “off” if I don’t attend church and I think it just really centres me and prepares me for the week ahead. I feel like while I’m “resting”, I am putting on Gods armour and preparing myself.

  5. Melanie Rastrelli says:

    One of my favorite verses that God has spoken to me through and I now see in His command to rest on the Sabbath in a different light,
    “Be still and know that I am God.” Rest in Him. Trust in him. Just Be still! God will take over and do all the work if we would only rest in Him.

  6. Linly Karshagen says:

    As I sat reading this this morning I struggled to get through the first few verses before my brain ran off and starting thinking about how I could get all need to do today done in the most efficient way. I’m observing lent by going off social media to make more time to lean into God, but lately with uni having started back up it feels like I’m replacing social media with productivity (which in all honestly had been GREAT) but this reading really convicted me that I need to again use this time to FOCUS ON GOD and rest with him!

  7. Dorothy says:

    Tina, Churchmouse, Angie and Paula Kline love what you said, it hit home.

    Sara Terry and Kelsea Baumgarten, I admire you for being stay at home moms (which in itself is a job) but you are right there are a few things that have to be done on the Sabbath. I’m a nurse and I would have to work on Sundays for over half of my careeer because of my occupation. So no I don’t think it’s a sin to do certain small things that are necessary on the Sabbath.

  8. Hannah says:

    I love this. I think I need to try something like this!

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