Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10 ESV
Our eight-day trip had been wonderful, yet anything but restful. Living out of suitcases, eating from the food we had packed or from various restaurants, left us with the constant reminder that we were neither at home nor at our destination. But God had a surprise planned and I almost missed it. After the first four days in our hotel room, just as I was packing for the next leg of our adventure, I just happened to look up and then I noticed for the first time a large, framed print. It hung on the wall just above my side of the bed but I had never seen it. There two large words on a white background told me all that God had been trying to tell me for days – “Be Still!”
Have you ever noticed that while we are looking for a detailed message from God about what we should be doing, where we need to be going or why things aren’t working out, that He often gives us something far simpler? While we are preoccupied with the geography of our destination, He is far more interested in the geography of our hearts. And so, I am hearing His answers to my questions –
“Be Still” - I have your family problems in my hands
“Be Still!” - I will be a spring in your dry places.
“Be Still!” - It is more important what I think than the acclaim of people who know you little
“Be Still!” I will be exalted in your life when you stop your fussing and simply know that I am God!
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. John 19:41-41
What better day to end this series on the Sabbath than Holy Saturday? This morning I began revising this post from last month, and I recalled that my wife and I used to sing a song titled, “The Little Boy From the Carpenter Shop” that went in depth on the subject. (I posted a link below if you want to listen) I loved that singing that song, but now I wonder how accurate its interpretation was of what Jesus was doing between his death on the Cross and Resurrection Sunday. In fact, I wonder how anyone knows exactly what occurred after Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus rolled the stone over the door to the tomb? What if on the day that serves as the hinge between the Old Testament and New – what if Jesus simply rested? What if when Jesus said, “It is finished!” and gave His spirit into his father’s hands He had one day without sorrow, suffering or demands of any kind? What if after three and a half years of ministry, in which it was said that he had nowhere to lay his head and scarcely time to eat, that Jesus just rested in His Father’s ability to do all that needed to be done for the day?
What if Jesus rested because it was the Sabbath? What if on the same day on which the creation of heaven and earth was completed, Jesus just paused to see everything that was good in the new creation now begun? What if there are times in our own lives when there is nothing more holy that we can do than nothing? What if on this Holy Saturday we quietly reflected and rested in the completed work of Jesus Christ? The Apostle James told us that we could see His faith by his works; however, it is equally true that there are times our faith is by shown by what we choose not to do. Just as by faith we die with Christ and are raised by Christ, there are also times when by faith He calls us to rest in Him and with all our hearts trust God to do the rest!
And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:24-26
In today’s scripture Jesus accomplished more when he was resting than the disciples did while they were desperately rowing and bailing water. Jesus wasn’t being lazy when He was sleeping. He simply knew that the Father would help Him to do all He need to do at just the right time, but only if He rested! As we rest, it teaches us to depend more fully on Jesus. Just like the stillness that Jesus brought to the sea by His word, as we rest, our racing thoughts calm to a hush and in that quietness we can begin to hear God’s still small voice. Keeping Sabbath is a step of faith with our time, in the same way that giving our tithe is a step of faith with our finances. With our tithe we give the first and best of our financial resources, trusting that God will multiply the rest to meet our needs. We need to remind ourselves that keeping a Sabbath is not just observing some law, but a spiritual recognition that the first and best of part our time is better in God’s hands, than a whole week in ours. As believers in Jesus Christ we don’t “have to” legalistically rest on Sunday. Instead, we discover that we have the privilege at least once a week to find our rest in Him. One day we will finish with all of the work of our life. On that day we will enter into the greatest Sabbath of all as we find our wonderful and complete rest in the presence of Jesus forever and all our work will remain behind!