Happy Sabbath!!! For some of us it has arrived but recently. For others, they are fully in the midst of its blessing. Then there remain those who have yet to receive it. Whatever time you are in, here’s another Sabbath letter that I found very encouraging.
A Sabbath “Place By Me”
It’s no secret these days that one of the highest priorities in society is some way to find refuge. Financially, people rely heavily on insurance and retirement schemes. Socially, we try to keep a safe distance from potentially infected strangers. Materially, we rely on the shelter of our homes to defend against winter cold. Militarily, we pin our faith on advanced weaponry to defend against threats. And on the street, we hope like everything that the Police are on our side and are going to be there when we need them. Refuge. We need it.
But God offers something a lot more dependable. I’ve been blessed recently with the example of Moses at Mt. Sinai. After the debacle of the Golden Calf, and after the retribution of the Levites, and after Moses’ own incredible intercession (“blot me, I pray thee, out of Thy book”), then he pled with God for something deeper. He wanted a relationship, a sure path to God’s favor. “Show me now Thy ways,” he prayed, “that I may know Thee, to the end that I may find favor in Thy sight.” It was as if he was so disheartened by Israel’s apostasy that he simply fled to the heart of God for solace. Or for spiritual refuge. Certainly he wanted something better than that calf.
And God responded well: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” But Moses wanted still more. As if stirred by a sudden impulse toward intimacy, he pressed yet closer to his God: “Show me, I pray thee, Thy Glory.” He wanted the ultimate: to see God with his own eyes.
Of course, his unseen Friend could not permit that. “Thou canst not see My face; for man shall not see Me and live.” But He did offer the closest reward that humanity could stand: this was the “cleft of the rock” where He told Moses he would be covered with His hand—a most wonderful privilege which has become the theme of countless sermons and hymns down the ages.
But I’ve been deeply blessed by the way God introduced this idea. “There is a Place By Me,” He said, and actually held out the promise that Moses could enter that Place. The story goes on to describe the Place as the cleft of the rock—probably right there on the Mountain of God.
For me, however, this awesome description of a solitary man, filled with a deep yearning, possessed of the stunning possibility of physical and spiritual intimacy with his God, the Creator of All Things, the Shepherd of Israel, the Victor over Pharaoh and all his host—that picture speaks of the Way opened through the Gospel: “I Am the Way,” said the very same Person who spoke to Moses that day.
And further, I delight to think of the Sabbath as a weekly reiteration of His gracious call: “There is a Place by Me” for us, today, even this evening as the sun sets. There is Refuge in this “cleft rock”—a refuge from the cares and fears and burdens of the week. There is a Place, here, now, provided by the same One who covered Moses with His omnipotent Hand. We are covered with the same Hand; we are not at the mercy of circumstances; we are not grist for the devil’s mill; we are not “cannon fodder” for the enemy’s murderous sport. And we are not at the mercy of Covid, or war, or politics, or anything else that threatens to shake us and distress us and drive us silly.
“There remains a Sabbath of rest for the people of God.” Let’s slip into that cleft Rock today and rest in its unshaken Refuge. May God bless His people tonight with this reality.
Christ’s blessing on you all.