Exodus 16:30: “So the people rested on the seventh day.”
A lot of books and teachings have been offered on how to get a (your) miracle from God. I find very little teaching on “post miracle.” Not much is offered to assist you after you get a miracle. Sometimes getting a miracle from God is like winning an elephant in a raffle, you’ve got it, what are you going to do with it?
Ok, maybe the word miracle is a little too heavy for some of you, so let’s just call it a gift from God. We can all identify with that. Everyone can point to something in their life and honestly say that it is or was truly a gift from God. It could be your job, your house, your mate, your children, your health, etc. Whenever the preacher says: “Let’s give thanks,” everyone of us can think of something that we can thank God for. I remember in a prayer meeting someone held up a glass of water and said: “Lord, I thank you for this clean water to drink, for I am but dust.” I don’t know what his point was but I figured you can’t get much dryer than “butt dust;” so a cool glass of water would truly be a gift from God.
Yet, being thankful for a miracle or gift from God does not stop there. There are conditions attached to any miracle or gift from God. This passage teaches of the one condition that comes with any gift or miracle from God, it is call rest. You see for the children of Israel living in Egypt, life may not have been a bowel full of cherries, but it really was. Not only cherries, but grapes olives, cucumbers and a variety of food. Yes, they were slaves, but at least they had a place they could call home, they knew where there next meal was at and the local well to get water. But now that they were in the wilderness, they had no home, they had no local well to draw water, and they had no shelter from the desert storms. There is nothing but death in a desert which meant no source of food. Their only source was God. Six days a week, God would open the windows of heaven and send down bread. Not a bad deal. They did not have to get up early in the morning and plow a field., they did not have to push a shopping cart and swipe a debit card at a check out, all they had to do was get up and collect their daily bread. And the price was right as well. God only gave two conditions. Take only what you need for one day and no more. On the sixth day, take extra for the seventh day and rest on the seventh day. Do not go out and collect anything on the seventh day. Well you can guess what happened. The people took extra during the week (the extra spoiled) and went out collecting on the seventh day (but there was nothing to collect). You see the people were afraid that God might oversleep one morning and they may have nothing to eat, so they wanted to save up for a raining day. Of course there would be no raining days in a desert. The people only saw the manna and their need, not the faithfulness of God to supply it in the first place.
Well we learn in Exodus 16:30 that after much trial and error, the people of Israel final figured it out and they rested on the seventh day. But really, how much effort was it to collect you daily manna. Was it that strenuous that you had to take a break every seventh day?
The word rest is vayishevethu. It comes from the root word shabat which means to cease. We learn in Genesis 2:2 that God rested on the seventh day. I mean all that creating into being must have worn poor God out, I mean he deserved a rest. The English word rest can be a little misleading. It is not to rest to regain your strength, it is to cease from your activity. Used here in Exodus you have a sort of play the word yashev which means to dwell, or sit down. Shabat has a numerical value of 702. The word macoreth also has a numerical value of 702 and means to bond. You see this rest was not meant to catch your breath, but it was to cease from all activity so you can concentrate on one thing, bonding with God. Even collecting manna takes you mind off of God and onto temporal things. You don’t bond with God by worrying or fretting over losing the gifts or manna He has given you, you bond with Him by thanking and praising Him for you manna. The Sabbath day is a day to worship, praise God and thank Him for the provisions throughout the week. If we worked seven days a week we would probably not really take any time at all to offer our thanksgiving to Him and to remember who it is that gives us our strength us sustenance.
You see, the children of Israel finally figured that out, rather than go out looking for manna on the seventh day and getting stressed out when none was to be found and start assuming God was welching on His deal, they were to rest or bond with God on that day by spending one day with Him without the interference of the daily grind. When we have our corporate meeting that is our Sabbath day with God this week, rather than start stressing out and thinking God’s gift was really were some kind of Trojan Horse. We need to do what Israel did on the seventh day – rest, cease from all anxieties, and doubts about God’s faithfulness and simply rest and bond in the demonstration of His love, caring and provision.