“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3a)
Sometimes we must be made to lie down. We get so wrapped up in what we are doing that we have trouble being. In fact, we can get so disconnected from our “being” that we connect our identity and worth to our “doing.” That is, to what we produce.
This is one of the lessons that God was teaching the Hebrew people when he gave the command of Sabbath-keeping in the Ten Commandments (found both in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5; see the Deuteronomy version for the point I’m making here). He created a contrast.
A relationship with the Egyptian Pharaoh teaches that your worth is defined by your production (make more bricks; no days off).
A relationship with the God of Israel teaches that your worth is defined by his creating, saving, and adopting you.
To detach their self-worth from their production, God commanded a day of ceasing from work, called the Sabbath. I’ve heard it said that we more often behave ourselves into a way of believing than we believe ourselves into a way of behaving. In other words, most of the time, we have to do it in order to get it, not the other way around.
So, to paraphrase David in Psalm 23, God made them lie down. Once a week. An object lesson of sorts to help them get clear about the difference between a relationship with Pharaoh and a relationship with God.
So, how about you and me? Who are we behaving as if we are in relationship with–God or Pharaoh? Might God need to make us lie down?
Prayer: God, when I’m tempted to judge my worth by what I do, make me lie down. Set me straight. And when I rise up, let me work from security in your love instead of for it. Amen.