The Ox doesn’t live in the ditch

Hebrews 4 (New King James Version)

The Promise of Rest
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them,[a] not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:

“ So I swore in My wrath,

‘ They shall not enter My rest,’”[b]

although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”;[c] 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”[d]
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:

“ Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”[e]

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

The Word Discovers Our Condition
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Our Compassionate High Priest
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Today I am tired. God says:

Exodus 34:21
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

Why did God not emphasize — “in your day to day mundane routine…rest?

Well, he knows our thoughts better than we do. He knows that we are addicted to our own success. He knows that we are never satisfied.

Proverbs 27:20
Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Notice, plowing and labor are providing for ourselves. When busy people rest, we are not lazy — we are trusting God to handle what concerns us.

I have to work, my “ox is in the ditch!” This refers to a verse in Luke 14:5 which says:

5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey[a] or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”

Jesus wasn’t talking about “work” per se here but had been asked if it was OK to heal. He spoke in terms they’d understand — a donkey and ox were their transportation — their “car.” If we had a flat tire on Sunday we’d fix it. How much more important was the woman he healed — she was far above an ox or donkey to God. People are made in God’s image.

I think the Ox in the ditch wasn’t as much talking about your job as it was about God’s plan to heal and love people on the Sabbath. I feel that I am very guilty of misinterpreting this verse. Besides, oxes don’t live in ditches! When we look at Luke, it is similar in message.

14And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

15The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

16And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

Jesus Christ was talking about taking care of the essential needs of those dependent upon Him. He wasn’t talking about working extra on that project or getting caught up at work or getting a few extra things done.

We want to relax but we never rest. Sometimes we just need a time out! We need rest! We feel like Job when he said:

Job 3:26
I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Rest is something we must do intentionally. But we must choose to be quiet and be still to experience it.

I wonder what the Olympic athletes are doing this week as they prepare for the game? Training like crazy. Working themselves crazy. Well, there’s one Olympic bobsledder, Olympic bobsled brakeman Brock Kreitzburg of Akron who says:

First things first, though. I must give myself a little bit of a break from bobsledding. This past week we have not taken any trips down the track. We have only been in the weight room. I’ve tried not to think too much about bobsledding, even when I’m training because my mind needs the rest. I need the rest.

Don’t get me wrong, I love bobsledding, but I need this down time because I know as the Games and the race approaches, it will take an enormous amount of focus to do well. I will need to be 100 percent physically, emotionally, and spiritually if I want to perform at my best.

This next week I will start transitioning back into a more focused mentality. We go to Turin Feb. 7, and that’s where it all begins. For me, it will be all about training for those 4- or 5-second pushes. I get it done there and I know my driver, Todd Hays, will get it done down the hill.

In the meantime, I will do all I can to rejuvenate myself and make the Lord, my family, my city, and my country proud. Go USA!

Watch Brock Kretizburg — I know nothing about bobsledding but I know that Jesus Christ honors his very own and this man bears the marks of a Christian. I have to wonder if God will give him a worldwide stage to share the love of Jesus Christ.

We are on a hamster wheel 6 days a week. If the hamster doesn’t get off the wheel – the hamster will run himself to death. Sometimes God allows us to be sick so we will — SLOW DOWN!

We have a promise of entering His rest but it is founded on faith. I love our passage today, Hebrews Chapter 4 — it is a chapter of rest. What great reminders of rest:

Hebrews 4:1 – 1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it
Hebrews 4:9 – 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
Hebrews 4:11 – 11
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

Remember, every time we see the Olympic advertisements, we are asked to pray for the Olympic efforts of Christians who are working as volunteers in the games.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will quiet our hearts. Let us choose to rest and keep the Sabbath rest that You made for us to need. Let us trust you to handle the work. Lord, give the Olympic Athletes rest and give particular rest to those who are yours. We pray that you will exalt those who plan to exalt you. We pray that you will put Jesus Christ centerstage as the central focus of the glory of all Christians. Lord, guide and lead our missionaries and bless and keep us as we pray. Help our missionaries who have gone to the Olympics and let them plan seeds for your kingdom. Lord, I love you. Guide and keep us!

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