Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
For some time now there has been a burning desire to begin to articulate what God has been teaching us in an area we believe our culture and yes, even the church with a capital "C" needs to be challenged to remember. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). Inherent in the what of remembrance is the act of remembering itself, which we cannot take for granted. It seems strange to say it, but we need to remember quite simply because we forget. It is part of our human makeup to forget what we profess to know so well. The gift of the Sabbath to Israel on Mount Sinai and later to the Church of God is the fleshing out of the heart of God's divine injunction given to us in Psalm 46:10.
Every area of life requires active remembrance. Unless we are deliberate in our practice, our memories will atrophy. Daily life bears this truth out. There is no mastering an art form without "practice makes perfect." In other words, do not forget to remember. The most effective remedy against forgetfulness is the practice of remembrance.
There are certain realities God seeks to impress upon us. God, as author and designer, knows our human frame, and in His wisdom He has given us a day whereby we might remember precisely what we are prone to forget. "Cease striving and know that I am God." What is God seeking to impress? "Remember I am God and you are not." At first glance this is such a statement of the obvious that we may very well miss the necessity of God's words. The fact that God would have any need to remind us of His presence as God bears witness to the human propensity toward suppressing what God has impressed into the very fabric and make up of all that He has made (Romans 1:18-20; Psalm 19). The world God has created is designed to put God on display. Towards that end God has done this so that we might come to know Him and enter into a living relationship with Him. However, the Bible asserts, that is precisely what we suppress. We seek to be autonomous and suppose that God is not in control of His world. In some cases we are proud to tell Him that He is not there at all (Atheism).
This further evidences itself in a special way, in our disregard of God's divine provision for a day set apart for remembrance, namely the Sabbath or Lord's Day. "Cease striving and know that I am God."
The distinguished Jewish scholar Abraham Heschel observed:
"He who wants to enter the holiness of the day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screech of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; On the Sabbath we specially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else..."
Our greatest challenge in remembering is that we will not "cease striving." And we will not "cease striving" because we refuse to acknowledge that the world will not come to a screeching halt if we step out of it! In the process what we forfeit in our refusal to "cease striving" is the very fountain of living itself -God-. "...know that I am God."
Thus God's gift of the Sabbath day seeks to address and redress at least two things in our present human state. First, our supposed autonomy from God and second, the Day seeks to free us from our delusion and burden at playing God by seeking to control the world. Let us then be still and hear the God who speaks to us, or at least yearn to.
Ponder as you hike,