Doing vs. Knowing

Do you ever feel overwhelmed or overloaded? Do you ever feel like you just aren’t ever doing enough, and there isn’t enough time in the day? Me too. These first couple weeks in Thailand have been a whirlwind. We have gotten a lot more done in getting set up here than I thought we would, which is great. But I won’t lie. I’m drained.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses summoned the nation of Israel to give them the law of the Lord. These laws weren’t just a bunch of random rules, but was God discipling an entire nation and wanting to be made known to the world through them.

In Chapter 5, Moses quotes the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20. He quotes what God had said in Exodus 20, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” I see this as a gentle reminder as to say “Hey I’m going to remind you who I AM, and why you should listen to me, then I’m going to tell you what to do.”

Moses quotes the first few commandments that were given. Then when he gets to the fourth one (keeping the Sabbath holy), something is added that wasn’t in Exodus 20. Deuteronomy 5:15 says “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”

In the midst of the commandments, He emphasizes this one, and reminds them AGAIN – saying LOOK WHO I AM AND WHAT I HAVE DONE FOR YOU, NOW MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THIS ONE.

I won’t lie – if I’m reading through the Ten Commandments, this one I’m probably ranking as one of the lowest on the totem pole. I mean the other ones are dealing with their relationship with God, and not killing or stealing or dishonoring other people. Why does He choose to emphasize this one above the rest?

Vulnerability alert – I’m guilty of breaking all of these (for murder and adultery, see Jesus’ interpretation Matthew 5:21-30, check annnddd check…. Dang it). The commandment I am probably guilty of breaking the most is the Sabbath. But why is this important? I am so good at staying busy, but I am doing GOOD things. So shouldn’t that be the exception, if it’s broken for doing good?

I think God is placing emphasis on this because He wants to remind us again that His primary concern isn’t about what we do for Him, but that we actually step back from everyday life and KNOW Him. When we truly seek and know Him, doing good WILL follow. However, just because we DO things FOR Him, doesn’t mean we know Him. I can do things for my wife all the time; cook, clean, laundry, yardwork, etc. I can know about her (color hair, favorite color, where she likes to shop, etc) – and she would appreciate ALL of that. But if I do things for her and know about her, and don’t KNOW her – do you think she would be pleased? Definitely not.

I’m not saying we have to go all Pharisee on the Sabbath and refuse to do anything. Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, but that’s because He was more concerned with the heart of it than the legalistic concept. But He also constantly withdrew to pray and spend time with the Father.

I urge you (as I write this mainly to remind myself) – to take time to rest. God emphasized this command for a reason. I think when I fail to rest, it’s also a sign that I am failing to trust in God. I am saying that God does not know what’s best, and I don’t trust it will get done or be ok unless I take control and constantly go full speed.

Nothing is wrong with getting stuff done. We SHOULD accomplish things. Work is good. But resting and focusing on Him is essential.

If my primary focus is getting stuff done, then I must ask myself, is what I am doing so I may be known and glorified? Or is it so I may know Him better, so HE may be known and glorified?

How’s your schedule looking? Do you take time to retreat, rest, and just focus on KNOWING God? Or do you fall into the achiever trap like me by trying to constantly DO?

“’This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24

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