This is the story of how it all started,
of Heaven and Earth when they were created.
By the seventh day God had finished his work.
On the seventh day he rested from all his work.
God blessed the seventh day.
He made it a Holy Day…
Because on that day he rested from his work,
all the creating God had done.
The Day of the Lord is coming, it is at hand!
God’s Judgment’s on its way—
the Day’s almost here!
You may work for six days,
but the seventh day is a holy day of worship,
a day when you don’t work.
It is dedicated to the Lord.
Whoever does any work on this day should be put to death.
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down,
after they were compassed about seven days.”
God Takes the Time
to Do Everything Right
The Anarchist’s coming is all Satan’s work.
All his power and signs and miracles are fake,
evil sleight of hand
that plays to the gallery of those who hate
the truth that could save them.
And since they’re so obsessed with evil,
God rubs their noses in it—gives them what they want.
Since they refuse to trust truth,
they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous…
It yelled blasphemies against God,
blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church,
especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven.
Everyone on earth whose name was not written
from the world’s foundation
in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way,
all these veterans cheering us on?
It means we’d better get on with it.
Strip down, start running—and never quit!
No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way:
Cross, shame, whatever.
And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
When you find yourselves flagging in your faith,
go over that story again, item by item,
that long litany of hostility he plowed through.
That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
has this solemn counsel:
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me—
The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.”
“This is a place for comfort.
This is a place of rest for those who are tired.”
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
My lover is mine, and I am his.
Nightly he strolls in our garden,
Delighting in the flowers
until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
longingly addressing her absent shepherd,
“Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away,
return hastily, O my beloved,
and be like a gazelle or a young hart as you cover the mountains which separate us.”
-Song of Solomon 2:16-17
The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders.
He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance.
He repealed the law code that had become so clogged
with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped.
Then he started over.
Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated
by centuries of animosity and suspicion,
he created a new kind of human being,
a fresh start for everybody.
Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say,
“God is trying to trip me up.”
God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way.
The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us.
We have no one to blame
but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.
Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin!
Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you
but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy,
and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?
Great peace have they who love Your law;
nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.
– Micah 6:8, Psalm 119:165
You in Your mercy and loving-kindness have led forth the people
whom You have redeemed;
You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace–
internal and external,
and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.
My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation,
in safe dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.
When the Promises Are Mixed with Faith
For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him
pulls us on to God’s goal for us,
we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified.
We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness,
but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith.
If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting.
But not if we don’t have faith.
Remember that God said,
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”
God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world.
Somewhere it’s written,
“God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,”
but in this other text he says,
“They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.”
So this promise has not yet been fulfilled.
Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest
because they were disobedient.
God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm,
centuries later than the original invitation:
Today, please listen,
don’t turn a deaf ear . . .