The LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions?” – Exodus 16:28 (NRSV)
We are busy, exhausted, overworked, inundated. How can we rest when there are so many demands on our time? So many people who need us? So much news to digest? So many goals to achieve?
“See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath.” God assures us just as God assured the Israelites in the wilderness.
I’m as much of a striver as the rest of this generation, up early or late to finish one thing and start another, jumping to whatever is the new platform, wondering every day what God really wants me to do. Often our striving is a product of anxiety, rooted in a genuine fear about survival. For the Israelites, finding sufficient food for the community was a real need. When God provided manna, that miraculous flaky seeded wafer found with the dew, the people had trouble trusting that it would continue to appear. The promise of a double portion on the day before the Sabbath felt unreliable despite the evidence of God’s care.
“On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather”— just in case—“and they found none.”
They could not bring themselves to rely on God’s word as passed to them by Moses. Even so, the manna continued to appear for forty years, their entire journey in search of the Promised Land.
Why can’t we rely on God’s word and take our Sabbath rest? When we resist quieting our anxious hearts, hands, and minds, we miss out on the manna of connection to God. Even so, God awaits us.
Holy One, giver of all good things, may we get the message and lay aside our striving long enough to rest in you. Amen.