Responsibilities complete…time to rest.
This has been a very busy term for me. In the midst of my usual activities I had a few extra opportunities, both work and pleasure, which meant I reached the end of the term feeling even more ready for a rest than usual. The second last day of the term I was on the go from the moment my feet hit the floor til I sent the last email before heading to bed.
At that moment I felt a sense of release. I knew my responsibilities for the term were complete. (Yes, we still did some work on the last day…but there was nothing I HAD to do.) As I woke up the next morning I felt a lightness and I realised that I now had the freedom to REST. As I look into the two weeks of break we have here for our “Winter Holidays” I know that it will still be busy. There will be activities with the children, meals to prepare, ongoing housework and laundry; just the usual. The difference is that for the next two weeks there is nothing I HAVE to do.
The Day of Atonement
One of the ‘extras’ I took on was to prepare a Bible Study for our Ladies’ Study on the Old Testament Feasts and their fulfillment in Christ. It was a lot of work but so full of blessing. I considered afresh all that Christ has done for us, and the wonderful truth that God gave us these pictures in the OT Feasts to prepare His people and foreshadow all that He would do through the Christ. One part of that study was to dig deeper into the “Day of Atonement”. In Lev 16 this day is described in great detail and the writer to Hebrews speaks much of how Jesus fulfills and far exceeds the roles of Priest, sacrifice and sin bearer on this day. It was a great subject to study!
Repentance and Rest
In the midst of all this description of how the people’s sins were to be atoned for in this once a year “Day of Atonement” there is a small passage (Lev 16:29-31) which directs the people as to their part in the day.
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a day of Sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.” (my emphasis)
They had just two responsibilities:
- Deny themselves – as a sign of repentance and recognition of sin.
- Not do any work – By choosing not to work, to consciously rest as the Priest did all that was required they demonstrated their faith by obedience.
Resting in God’s provision
As I enjoyed that wonderful feeling of having nothing I HAD to do, my mind cast back to that study and the wonder of all Christ has done for us. In this beautiful picture of how Christ atones for us, the people of God were given this principle:
We do not work for our own atonement (payment for and removal of sin). We trust that the priest will make the sacrifices necessary to atone for us. Our role is to acknowledge our need for atonement, and to rest in the atonement provided for us.
We are the sinners. Christ is our priest. Christ is our sacrifice. Christ is our Scapegoat…the one who bears away our sin. His work is complete. THEREFORE… our work is complete too. We may rest.
In Hebrews 4:9,10 it is described this way:
Faith demonstrated in Rest
I wondered…do I feel the same sense of release in my Christian walk ? Can I rest as I remind myself again and again that, “It is finished.”? Do I enjoy the amazing blessing of being able to rest in Christ’s finished work? Or do I try to jump up there with the priest, trying to add my own little sacrifice to his. Do I think that what Christ has done is not quite enough? Do I think that God wants more? Our rest is not just a blessing and a privilege. Our rest is an act of obedience which demonstrates our faith that it is indeed “by grace you have been saved.” (Eph 2:8,9)
I will be enjoying my rest this week. I will also be reminding myself of the deeper rest I have in Christ. I hope you will too!
Hugs and Prayers,