Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grace and rest

The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Psalms 33:11 NRSV

And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2: 2-3 NRSV

In the first scripture above, we are reminded that God's will is forever, and forever encompasses past, present, and future. The word counsel, in the King James Dictionary, has many meanings and nuances including, advice, opinion and instruction. Another facet of the definition includes purpose, design, will, decree. The idea that the definition produces is that God's counsel is his purpose or design given to us as his advice or instruction. God's counsel interacts with us; it is not simply a mechanism that declares. With this definition in mind, we look at the second part of the verse and see that the Lord's counsel is the thoughts of his heart, and God's thoughts existed before time, and will extend after time.

The second verse ties in with the first verse because it explains God's thoughts from the beginning of time. The NRSV commentary mentions that God hallowed the seventh day because of rest. Hallowed means that something is set apart as sacred. The scripture says that God hallowed the seventh day because of rest.

For humans, rest is the ultimate goal of all that we try to accomplish in our earthly life. For modern Christians, we are often overwhelmed with the busy-ness of life, the enormity of the task at hand, and the scarcity of time or resources to accomplish it. We long to finish our work and rest. This longing was created in us by God from the very beginning.

If we look at our spiritual life, the rest that God created for us is fulfilled in grace. It is in grace we must rest, and this has been the Lord's counsel to us from the very beginning.