Today I was reading a work by Edmond Clowney, How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments. I am on the chapter about the fourth commandment – “Remember the Sabbath Day by Keeping it Holy.” I found some insightful things regarding my preoccupation with weakness.
I don’t know where you are in your wilderness of weakness. Maybe neck deep in rising floodwaters. Maybe knee deep in quicksand. Maybe scratched and bruised as you bushwhack through life’s jungle. Maybe frustrated with people who write in metaphor. I don’t know your weakness – but I KNOW this: rest is possible here and now for those who are in Christ – no matter how exhausted you feel.
Clowney makes the point that not only has God called us to rest on the Lord’s Day… he has told us something about himself through the very Sabbath command. “The Sabbath marks the fact that God delights in the presence of his people” – enough that he would command us to stop and sit down and just be with him in the middle of the desert (or floodwaters, or jungle) of life. Say it slowly: “My God delights in me enough that he wants me to rest from surviving this world of weakness to be with him in my weakness as I am.” Nothing more. Not Sabbath performance. Not Sabbath discipline (though it requires it). Just Sabbath rest. Can I do that for even 5 minutes without the TV on? Hmm…
And here’s the thing: this is all more spiritual than it is physical! Christ fulfilled the Sabbath rest for us – see Colossians 2:16-17. The Sabbath day (when we rest and recognize our physical weakness) is but a shadow of the rest Christ has purchased and promised to his people (a spiritual rest borne out of our recognition of spiritual weakness)! Jesus is Lord of your rest because He is Lord of the Sabbath. This is speaking of gospel rest!
So I guess we could say it like this. God has called us to take gospel naps in the midst of our weakness in anticipation of the eternal gospel rest where we will experience the pleasure of God and will pleasure in God forever – no weakness to wake up to then. “There still remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God”(Hebrews 4:9).
So, try God on this one. Take a gospel nap in your weakness. Set aside time. Preferably on the Lord’s Day before or after all of God’s people gather in corporate gospel rest time (like kindergarten, I guess). But do it. Rest in your weakness. We need physical naps when we are tired. We need spiritual gospel naps when we are weak.
When have you let the Lord of Rest recalibrate you for the weakness of this broken world?
“Only united to Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, can we fulfill all our Sabbath duties, finding rest in God’s presence and entering into an eternal rest that satisfies all the hope of the original Sabbath day of rest. Not only will we find rest for our bodies, as they are transformed in resurrection, but we will find in Christ both our place of rest and our time of rest…” – Edmund P. Clowney
There is more here… so email me/comment if a conversation would help.