When you read my title, what were your first thoughts? That I was simply being cute and trying to get a stir out of you? Well, . . . you’re right. But then again, are you a “Victor”? Or are you “Weenie?” Are you a “Man,” or a “Mouse”? Yeah, yeah. I suppose that if we were honest, most of us could fall into either of those categories once in awhile. However, if you were ever wondering what our Father’s expects of us, we find it in Isaiah 30:15:
“You can be saved by returning to me.
You can have rest.
You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting me . . .” (Isaiah 3015)
Oh! But the Amplified Version renders that as:
In returning to Me and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and in trusting confidence shall be your strength . . .”
But on both translations I omitted a very important line: “But you don’t want that.” Ouch! But it’s true. We would much prefer all of the chaos, hectic schedules and running around. No? You don’t enjoy that? Well, why do you keep living that way?
My friends, it is in quietness and confidence, that we can find our strength. If we are completely fed up with being a weenie and a mouse, then we need to seek some quietness, rest and confidence in our Lord; in His Word; in His Presence.
That’s what our praying is suppose to be all about. We are to be seeking His Presence in every turmoil in our lives. The Hebrew word for quietness is menuh’a (מְנוּחָה), This is often translated as “Peace,” “Quietness,” “Rest,” or even “tranquility.” And all of those are good, but they don’t really describe the depth of this word. it is like describing shalom. Shalom is a very interesting Hebrew word that could take up pages to explain; but just know that its very nature is describing a sense of well-being, peace, good, godliness and grace that comes from God — it is a divine, and therefore spiritual, source that produces shalom. In the case of menuh’a, you could think of it as being calm, relaxed, free from all anxiety; to be still, to lie down with support underneath. Kind of the feeling you get from a Sleep-Number Bed! lol. Do you see what I am getting at?
The thought actually brings up the concept or meaning behind the Sabbath. Really. The Sabbath is a time of rest. However, the rest of Sabbath is not something you get when you simply stop working. You see, Sabbath is neither the default position to work nor even its servant. Sabbath is its own reality, created, sanctified, and blessed of God.
In his book, The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel is attempting to reestablish the Sabbath day as a celebration of holiness in time. His his book, Heschel states that we describe eternity not by what it is, but by what it is not. As he writes,
“Eternity is not concerned with the commercial endeavors of this world, but rather with tranquility and peace, the absence of the need for such endeavors.”
Heschel takes the reader back to the Genesis creation account, and cogently points out that Yahweh finishes His work not on the sixth day, but on the seventh! “The Sabbath is an intentional creation of God’s, but it is not a tangible creation. Rather, it is (paradoxically) the creation of an absence.” Heschel identifies this created absence as menuha, a stillness and peace. He says of the creation story:
“After the six days of creation–what did the universe still lack? Menuha. Came the Sabbath, came menuha, and the universe was complete”
That is the wonder of the Hebrew word translated “rest” in Genesis 2:2 (“God rested . . .”) is מְנוּחָה (menuh’a). Rabbi Heschel writes that something was created on the Sabbath and that something was menuh’a, “tranquility, serenity, peace and repose”:
“To the biblical mind, menuha is the same as happiness and stillness and peace and harmony. The word with which Job described the state after life he was longing for is derived from the same root as menuha. It is the state wherein man lies still, wherein the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. It is the state in which there is no strife and no fighting, no fear and distrust. The essence of the good life is menuha. ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters.’ (the waters of menuhot) In later times menuha became a synonym for the life in the world to come, for eternal life.” Rabbi Heschel, The Sabbath
While I am certainly no scholar, (and doubly certain no Hebrew scholar) but it seems to me that Sabbath is an invitation to a new reality, a new possibility that is not “just our imaginations.” It is an invitation to embrace a reality that co-exists and is along side the daily grind of our lives, a reality that is there for us to enter.
The problems is that very few (if any) Christians today have this kind of quietness and confidence. So many of us are involved in a frenzy of activities, rushing madly to obtain wealth, possessions and pleasure. Taking care of family and our homes. Even in the Church — even those in ministry, servants of our Lord, active committee members, run around worrying, afraid, looking for answers in conferences, seminars, best-selling books. Everyone wants guidance, solutions, something to calm their spirit. They look for it in every source, except the Lord! They have never realized (or have forgotten) that our Father has already spoken a word for them, through Isaiah: If they don’t turn to him as their source, all of their energy and efforts will end in sorrow and confusion. If I’m wrong, let me know. Maybe all that “striving” is working for you. If it is, then have at it . . . Me? I prefer to seek quietness and trust.
Isaiah describes what Yahweh’s righteousness is supposed to accomplish in us:
“[A}n act of righteousness will bring about peace,
calm, and safety forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
If we are sincerely walking in righteousness, then our lives will bear the fruit of a calm spirit, quietness of heart and peace with our Lord and Father. If this spirit rests on you people will notice and they will tell you how peaceful you look! That, my friends, is the greatest testimony you could have!
As Isaiah looked around, he saw Yahweh’s people running off to Egypt for help, trusting in men, relying on horses and chariots. Ambassadors were coming and going. Leaders were holding emergency strategy meetings. Everyone was in a panic, wailing, “Oh dear, what can we do?”
Isaiah took a deep breath and assured them, “My brothers, it doesn’t have to be this way. Return from your backsliding. Repent of your rebellion of trusting in all the other things and turn to the Lord. He will cover you with a blanket of peace. He will give you quietness and rest in the midst of everything you are facing.”
My friends, you have read many of my messages and by now, you should have realized that we are called to a higher life and it is not a religious experience, but rather, an eternal relationship with a living Lord and King. Enter into the rest he is offering you.
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