ODJ: real rest

February 10, 2016 

READ: Mark 2:23-28 

The heavens belong to the Lord but he has given the earth to all humanity (Psalm 115:16).

During the long, harsh Alaskan winter, Denali National Park rangers rely on teams of sled dogs to help them patrol the vast, snowy wilderness. Dogsled patrols can last up to 6 weeks, and the dogs are always raring to go.

Alaskan huskies live to run and pull. The only problem is that the furry bundles of energy don’t know when to stop. Park rangers have to make them halt and rest. Otherwise, they’d run themselves ragged until they collapse from exhaustion—even to the point of death.

Sled dogs can remind us of our need to take a break. All of us have times when we need to stop, rest, and recharge. The biblical word for these actions is “Sabbath.” Jesus explained that the Sabbath “was made to meet the needs of people” and not just to be an oppressive religious rule to follow (Mark 2:27). He also, speaking of Himself, said, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” (v.28).

The first pages of Scripture also seem to indicate that the Sabbath was meant to remind us of something even more important than humanity’s need for rest. After God made the world, He “rested” on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2). This doesn’t mean that God was tired and needed a day off. Theologians tell us that God rested by dwelling in, enjoying, and ruling over the kingdom He had completed.

So let’s practice Sabbath by stopping to enjoy that much-needed rest. As we do, let’s also remember all that it stands for. It’s more than taking a break; it’s a way to acknowledge the One who is ultimately in charge of this world. It’s also a vital way of looking forward to the day when God will come down from heaven and once again dwell with His people on earth—just as He did when He first “rested” (Revelation 21:2-3).

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: Exodus 13:17-14:31

Read Hebrews 4:1- 11 and consider the “special rest” believers in Jesus enter into, both now and “still to come. 
What’s one way you can practice Sabbath rest? Why is it important for us to experience the rest that only Jesus can provide?