We enjoy camping. While our method of camping is certainly not “roughing it”, we do enjoy the retreat into the RV and the varied scenery that we encounter in different campgrounds that we have visited across the U.S.
Camping, getting away from the hectic schedule even we retired people have, is a marvelous way to unwind and just relax, contemplate your relationship with the Lord and with the various people in your family, church, work, etc. And we do just that, but for the vast majority of the time, we relax. We rest. We just sit and look at the beautiful scenery, or we walk and get closer to it.
Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho
There usually is no schedule and nothing that would require our attention if we didn’t want to pay attention to it. And, at least after the campground deadline for “quiet time”, there is the solitude that comes from being in God’s creation, simply soaking in the silence and then the sounds of the evening. Rest for the mind, rest for the body, and rest for the soul.
God knows that we need rest – He made us and knows us intimately. He knows that nonstop work is harmful to us, just about as harmful to us as nonstop idleness. He commanded that we stop work and rest on the 7th day, the Sabbath, the day that He declared to be holy unto the Lord.
In giving the Ten Commandments to Moses, God said:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
In the Garden of Eden things were wonderful – Adam and Eve were not subject to the difficulties that sin introduced into the world. However, once they were banished from the Garden and subject to sin, God had to set out commandments so that His people would know His moral law.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.”
Consider what the Psalmist says about keeping the law of the Lord. The soul is revived, the simple become wise, the heart rejoices, the eyes are enlightened, not to mention that the fear (reverence and awe) of the Lord endures forever, and His rules are true and righteous.
Needless to say, these commandments are not just for the Old Testament folks! While the New Testament Christians are not “under the law”, the commandments reflect how our God wants us to live, and we are told of the benefits of following the commands of our God. Surely, we must obey them even in the 21st century.
[I realize that there are many in service professions that must work on the weekend, and that includes the day called the “Sabbath” or for the Christian on Sunday, the first day of the week; but for those folks, there should be another day on which they look to their Savior dedicating their time and energy to Him.]
God understands that we need that time to recalibrate our lives and to refocus so that we are looking to God as the source of life and all that it has to offer. Contrary to our world’s culture and Hollywood, we are not the center of the universe, God is. He is due our reverence, loyalty and love.
Rest is not only a subject of the commandments — Jesus had some poignant words about rest as well. In one of the most beautiful passages in Matthew, Jesus says:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Rest for your souls. That, my Beloved, is what our culture is longing for and which they will not find in materialism, philosophies, or any place other than God. Don’t be deceived by anything that promises joy, comfort and rest without reliance on God, the Father Almighty. It is in His arms that rest and relief from sin can be achieved. He is the author of rest and it is only through Him that it can be received.
Father, I praise Your Name for the rest that comes only from You through Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. For those who seek this rest, I pray that You would grant them Your Spirit to show them the way, through Christ our Lord, I pray.