Wash Your Hands

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Still My Soul"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 12:8 – For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. (ESV)

Recently, I was asked to reflect upon what we understand by the Sabbath day today. From the seventh day of the creation story in Genesis, what are God's intentions in instituting the day of rest for humanity?

To cut the theology short, we are designed to have periods of cessation of all work, times for restoration and restitution (Hebrew: Shabbat). These occur at the end of periods of sevens: the Sabbath day — the seventh day; seven years — the Sabbath year; and seven times seven years — the year of jubilee. These are times, in increasing measure, of allowing rest for the land, for the people of God, and for seeking God.

Resetting the clock of everyday existence back to day zero meant that after the year of jubilee, everyone could start afresh with a better chance of success — both the land and its occupants.

In the New Testament, Jesus reframed the idea of Sabbath because in Him is the fulfilment of the law of Sabbath. He rose again after the Sabbath to start a new week, a new era, inaugurating the kingdom of God afresh, with a better chance of finding, through grace, His peace and salvation. Enough said.

I have written about making time, putting time aside, spending time in dialogue before God. For me, it is like washing our hands before we come to eat dinner. As we reach out in faith, praise, and intercession, and read the Bible, we find a conduit to rest our inner beings and to be still. In truth, this is a profound mystery: to wait upon God, only to find that this is a good thing to do, a blessing.

In contrast, sometimes, I find that I am tempted not to bother, having become too focused on something other than God to be still for a moment. My wilfulness and other distractions deny God the attention that He deserves and asks for, and consequently, I deny myself the peace which passes all understanding.

When I become wise to this truth — "I cannot be bothered because of …" — then purely by an act of my will, I set aside time before God. Maybe it is the Holy Spirit prompting me to commune — who knows?

When I am wound up like a spring or just exhausted with life, a quiet time can seem like a thankless exercise, because my heart is just not in it. There seems to be no willpower left to drag myself before the throne.

To feed my being, if I play some Bible readings — audio chapters of Scripture off my phone from the Internet — maybe I can become a little more inclined to hear and receive.

Sometimes, I need sleep, and that is okay, too. Jesus, as Lord of the Sabbath, knows when we need rest, not legalism, and He can give that, too. He is not in a hurry. Jesus is always here waiting for when we are open enough to give out, commune, and receive.

Prayer: Lord, words are only a part of our relationship with You, so we bring our hearts, minds, and actions, too. Come close to us today, and by Your holy presence, instil Your peace, and cast off fear, doubt, and indifference to Your call to be within our lives today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickhenrymarshall@gmail.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you, Rod, for this timely devotional reminder. Blessings.

    Great perspective and reminder, Rod. Hope things are well on that side of the ocean.

    Greetings Rod,
    Thanks for another very mindful devotional.
    Blessings for the writings you submit.

    Thanks for this, Rod. My daily prayer is: “I can’t handle it, God. YOU take over.” Willpower has nothing to do with me. I pray for willingness and then I just go ahead and do the next right thing, whatever that happens to be. Sometimes it’s the dishes. Thanks for your great reminders.

    Thank you for this devotional. I needed it today. I’ve been filled with doubt lately. The devil knows he can get me with doubt. For years, I doubted my salvation. I did overcome that. But it is pressing in on me again.
    I blame myself for things going on in our son’s life. I know the truth that I am not guilty anymore — no condemnation in Jesus Christ. I feel so badly for my son and wife.

    It was uplifting to listen to “Be Still My Soul”, today’s music, and then see the words used in your writing!
    Thank you so much for reminding us of the different “Sabbaths”.
    Paradoxically, I have found lockdown, which limits my life, seems to have filled it with “busyness“ that takes up time and I lose focus. Your words reminded me to “be still”.
    Thanks so much, bless you for your inspiring words,

    Thanks for your great message in our devotion today. How the world has changed over the years. No one rests on the Sabbath anymore. My dad was a farmer and of course he had to milk the cows, but if the grain was ready to harvest and it had been a wet week, he would never combine it on a Sunday. Too bad stores are open, so people have to work. Also, sports are played on Sunday, so lots of children don’t get to Sunday School.
    Really enjoyed reading you message. Thanks a lot.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Good morning Rod,
    Good devotional as usual. Good words indeed, also some good information about the various days celebrated by the Jews.
    My/our biggest complaint is that Sunday is not observed here in Canada. I’m sure the same is where you live. Stores are open, people have to work. I see our own grandchildren working around the house on a Sunday. Churches, when they are open, are poorly attended.
    I am willing to admit that in our youth we were not allowed to do anything on a Sunday, except go to church twice. But now the pendulum has swung too far the other way.
    Thank you for another interesting, thought-provoking Devotional.

    Hello Roderick, I appreciate the honesty with which you wrote. I find myself wanting to settle in the peace of God, but at times life in the natural overcomes that spiritual rest. May God hold you in his all-encompassing arms as you walk with him daily and give you peace.
    (On., Can.)

    I believe in a regular quiet time. It sometimes gets interrupted.
    Then during the day what I call a “mini-sabbath” may occur. Suddenly everything calms down.
    I can take that time, then, seize the moment, to connect with God and pray.
    Thanks for your helpful insights.


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