Remember : – to retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
In Exodus God commands us to remember the Sabbath. Beautiful in its simplicity, it was a call to rest. An opportunity to end, to cease and to pause. Before God gave this to Moses as one of the Ten Commandments the Sabbath existed as an attitude, a principle, a mind-set. It was part of the regular rhythm of life.
“By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.” (Genesis 2:2)
On the Sixth Day, God created man. And on the Seventh Day, God rested. He rested not because He was tired or worn out. He rested to make a statement. Man was created and the very next day man entered rest – God’s rest. Creation was not finished until the Sabbath was created. Rest – the Sabbath was the capstone of creation.
We need to live our lives with an awareness of being in the rest of God. The Sabbath is an invitation, after working diligently, to stand in the space of God and rest in His provision. It is our breathing room, our space, the margin where we can enjoy God. The Rhythm of Grace is living from a place of rest. Rest is renewal. Rest is refreshment. Rest is created by God. We need to remember and live from this place of rest.
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:9-10)
Tonight, my 4 year old and I stood outside in the early evening to look at the moon and the stars. We paused and made space. And while for my son it was an exciting time looking at the fading sunset and pointing out stars, for me it was an opportunity to stop and to pause and to think of God. A Sabbath moment.
“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers–the moon and the stars you set in place..” (Psalm 8:3)
Have you ever found yourself driving on autopilot? You reach home and realise that you can’t remember much of the drive you took to get there. Or you don’t notice significant changes on your street – the “for sale” sign that has gone up or the tree that has been cut down. Your mind was occupied on some other trail of thought. We can do the same with life – running on autopilot. Rising in the morning, doing chores, going about our day without really paying attention to what is going on around us. As a result we can even miss what God is doing in our lives.
Yet in our every day God is very much present. Renee Swope wrote recently “Evidence of God’s presence surrounds me. But I have to decide if I will look for, listen to: and notice Him.” If we want to see what God is doing in our lives – around our lives – we need to be attentive to what is going on around us. We need to be attentive to the whisper and gentle signs from God.
Once on an ordinary day Moses saw a burning bush. But more than he took time out from his job – tending the sheep – to look more closely at it. And that proved to be a game changer.
“So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from with the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said “Here I am.” “ (Exodus 3:3-4)
Moses then went on to have a powerful encounter with God that not only changed his life but also the life of the Israelites. Moses’ encounter with God was precipitated by him pausing and intentionally taking a closer look. He took time from his day to stop and see.
In an ordinary day was an extraordinary encounter waiting for him to notice and see.
Take time in your day to pause, to ponder, to look and to see what God is doing.
“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is!” (Isaiah 43:19)
It was National Haircut Day yesterday. Well not really, but that’s what it felt like. The first 3 women I spoke to at the school and kindy drop off, were all sporting new haircuts and had that I’ve just been to the salon sleek coiffured look. I apparently missed the memo reminding me to go to the hairdressers yesterday. It made me think I was part of a TV advert or something….come to think of it there is a TV advert of a person who missed the text message notifying him of the new haircut style!
It’s not unusual though in life to miss a notification of an event although fortunately this haircut popularity was just a coincidence and not something missed. In the plethora of notices that are coming home from school at the moment advertising gala days, raffles and school assembly costumes, it’s a wonder I haven’t missed something.
What it does remind me, is how often in life we can think that we have missed the moment, that we have missed what God has planned and purposed for us. Through distraction or confusion, disobedience, fear or events outside our control, we can sometimes be left with the feeling that we’ve missed our opportunity to be used by Him.
Mess ups and missed opportunities happen in life, but one thing is for sure, if your heart is after God, you will not miss your calling. God is the God of the second chance, the third chance and all the ones after that. And if that doesn’t convince you take a look at some of the people in the Bible. Moses killed, Jonah ran away, Peter denied. They messed up but they didn’t miss out on fulfilling the purpose that God had called them for.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)