Shabbat Shalom! Welcoming the Blessed Day of Rest

This week has been pretty busy. With our little one beginning dance classes and the amount of work I’ve had, finding time to breathe, much less write more, has been pretty tough. However, each Friday at sundown, I can let it all go, light the candles and receive the blessings of a full day of rest.

My daughter and I read the bible together every morning, and we’ve recently been reading Judges. We started in Genesis at the beginning of the year, and have progressed to the part about the group of Danites, and how they took their primary town. Since the predominate theme throughout the book (I feel) focuses on the backsliding and rescue of God’s chosen people, she asked me why it was so difficult for the Israelites to stay faithful. You would think that after the many miraculous mercies they had seen, that there would have been more adhesion to the One True God, right?

Well, since I had pondered that particular question before, I was glad that she asked it. Before we move on to the very serious happenings recorded in the last three chapters of Judges (which, incidentally, I have always felt create a strong argument for voter participation, if you’re a believer), I wanted to explain in more detail the very problem of human nature that my 11-year-old had shrewdly observed.

We live for ourselves.

God has created, for us, a tangible universe, which is governed by time. I think that this “time” element is both important for understanding our human existence and also for understanding the nature of God. He exists apart from, and within, both time and the universe. Personally (and I have tons of personal convictions), I believe that time is a gift, created for man—or at least in accordance with the laws of existence established by our Creator. However, like all of His gifts, it has the potential for incredible good or serious harm.

I explained to my daughter that the Israelites had by that time been living in the Promised Land for a few generations. The last surviving witnesses to God’s Awesome power had been gathered to their fathers. Moreover, copies of Moses’s writings weren’t available for the majority of people to study, so they had to rely on oral traditions and stories to know Him. Sacrifices were performed at the tabernacle, but these did not have the power to change a human heart, or remove the selfishness that is inherent in all of mankind.

When you consider the whining, unbelief of the camp even with the daily presence of the cloud and the fire, it’s not very hard to see how human nature can overcome faith. I also daily find myself requiring and beseeching Christ’s mercy for my own “bosom enemies.” It’s easy to forget everything (all the blessings) we’ve been given yesterday when the cares and problems of today seem so immediate.

However, Christ lavished mercy upon us and gave us the power to change.

What I wanted her to learn is that your heart intentions are very deep, and the cares of this life often blind us to full understanding of our motives. However, when the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you’re better able to recognize your faults, if you train yourself to listen. We discussed why the people constantly sought other Gods:

  • They didn’t drive out all the inhabitants like they were supposed to (Disobedience)
  • Never having personal experience of God’s power, it would be easy to assume that all ‘gods’ were the same (Ignorance)
  • Some of the worship practices involved hedonistic pleasure (Selfishness)

These limitations are present in every human being, but we also explored the immensity of God’s patience. His longsuffering love is immeasurable, and although we all have a natural, unrelenting bent towards sin (see Romans 7: 7-25), God never gives up on us.

Although I definitely make correlations between our current American society and the problems faced by those ancient tribes, the hope of His mercy sustains me.

As we welcome the peaceful rest He designed for us today, I encourage you to receive His endless mercy for yourself. If you’ve never accepted Christ as your personal Savior, click this link. He longs to forgive you and pour out His blessings in your life, for all eternity.

Freeda B

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