Thursday, July 10th Hebrews 4:9-16

“So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:9-16

I still teach the 10 commandments as they were taught to me by Dr. Jim Nestingen. The first commandment tells us that, since we are bound to have a god, we might as well have the right one. One that leads to life. If we are to have such a God, we need to be able to get in touch with him. So, in the second commandment, God gives us his name with the understanding that we use it for prayer, praise and thanksgiving.

And then the third commandment tells us that this God wants to have a word with us. This God, who has given us his name that we might call upon him, has given us a day in which he will come to us. Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy.

The writer of Hebrews further tells us about this God who wants to have a word with us in our daily lives. This God is the one who has been tested as we are tested, is able to sympathize with us in our struggles, and sits now on a throne of grace – ready, willing and able to help us when we need help.

This same Jesus is the one who stole away early in the morning for prayer. He is the same Jesus who took his disciples on a wilderness retreat before returning to have 5000 people over for lunch. The same Jesus who sat at the dinner table with friends and enemies. The one who rested by a well and brought life to a Samaritan woman.

This Jesus – the one who understands us, who sympathizes with us, who sees the naked truth about who we are – this is the Jesus that needs some time with us.

He invites us to come away to be with him. He invites us to his throne of grace, that we might boldly receive all that which he intends to give.

What we so often forget is that taking time to rest from our labors, taking sabbath time to refresh and re-create, is God’s command to us. The issue for the writer of Hebrews is that God’s rest is given to the obedient, not the disobedient.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we come to your throne of grace this morning, at the end of another week of giving ourselves away. Give us time this weekend to rewind and relax and recharge. Come to us as we gather before you in worship this Sunday. Give us that rest, that peace, that passes all understanding. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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