Stop … Eat … Enjoy

I just finished reading Lois Tverberg’s Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus and came across her definition of “Shabbat” (or Sabbath) as literally meaning “cease”. That helps me understand better how the ancient Israelites would have looked on their day of rest.

Soon after, I read Keri Wyatt Kent’s entry on “manna” in Deeper Into the Word. She pointed out that through the instruction to gather only enough manna for a single day Israel learned to trust God for their daily needs. They also learned that if they took too much, it turned rotten by the next morning. Yet there was one day that they could gather a double amount: on Friday mornings they were to get enough for Friday and Saturday both, because Saturday was the Sabbath and there would be no manna to gather. After all, they were to cease from work on Shabbat and gathering manna is a type of harvesting or work.

Keri then pointed out that when Jesus fed the five thousand by multiplying the loaves and fish, his watchers would probably have remembered Moses and the manna. They would have remembered that just as God fed his hungry people when they were wandering in the wilderness, Jesus fed the hungry multitude who had gathered to hear him in a remote place far from a market and home.

I noticed a distinct difference, though. When the people had finished eating, Jesus’ disciples gathered 12 baskets of extra food yet, unlike manna, it did not spoil. Instead, much like the two days’ worth of manna gathered for both Friday and Shabbat, this food was wholesome. Why was there extra food? I think it’s because there’s a connection between Shabbat and the bread that Jesus multiplied.

Here’s where it comes together: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and in him we find our Sabbath rest; nothing goes bad in Jesus because everything that he creates is good; Jesus provides not only what we need, but does it richly and abundantly.

No wonder Jesus, soon after feeding the five thousand, explained:

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:48-51.)

The very Bread of Heaven sustains us and gives us rest from our struggles. Amen.

***

Do you find it easy or hard to rest in Jesus? What does that say about your understanding of God?

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15 Responses to Stop … Eat … Enjoy

  1. nmcdonal says:

    Interestingly, Tim, the word for Sabbath used on the 7th day of creation (“and God rested”) is actually translated “joy,” or “delight” everywhere else in the Old Testament. In this instance, I think, God’s Sabbath is equivalent to God’s delight in what He’s made. Thanks for the post.

  2. Jeannie says:

    This is a very off-the-cuff comment (and probably full of mixed metaphors) — but this weekend my book club discussed Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and she talks about how the word manna means “what is it?” So the Israelites were, in effect, “eating the mystery,” and it was sweet as honey to their taste. She uses this analogy for how we “eat” (accept, are thankful for) the mysteries, the dark times and suffering, in our lives. But I was thinking in light of your post … when Jesus comes, we don’t need to eat the mystery anymore in that sense, because He is here. And some day we’ll see Him face to face (not through a dim mirror, no mysteries between us and Him). So we eat His bread in expectation of when we’ll see Him and be with Him forever.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Your post and the replies are so rich. It gives me new meaning to Taste and see that the LORD is good! My spirit finds it easy to rest in Jesus, my “old man” (Romans 6) is in constant battle against it! Love Jeannie’s comment “So we eat His bread in expectation of when we’ll see Him and be with Him forever” and your “Jesus provides not only what we need, but does it richly and abundantly.” Stop,Eat,Enjoy… perfect wake up call!

  4. Kathleen says:

    Back again! Just wanted to share, I read this post and comments to my guys at home. We started discussing your interesting link of manna and feeding the 5000. God providing manna through Moses representing the law, inadequate. Jesus providing an abundance representing grace. Thanks for sending us down this road today!

  5. michellevl says:

    I’d never connected the “daily bread” of manna with the overflow of Jesus’ multiplication of loaves and fish. You’ve given me (pun totally intented) food for thought.

    How did you like Tverberg’s book?

    • Tim says:

      Thanks Michelle. This book was OK, but not as good as the first one she co-wrote with Ann Spangler – Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. Now that book was one nugget after another, page after page.

      And on puns: intentional, unintentional, the product of chaos, whatever, just keep them coming!

  6. Aimee Byrd says:

    I love this article. We were just talking about Hebrews 13:9 & 10 being the fulfillment of Christ’s words in John 6: 55 & 56. “Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an alter from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.”
    The Christian is provided with far more excellent food for the soul—Christ is the life sustenance of the true worshippers of God. Woohoo!

  7. Thanks for the mention, Tim! Hey, by the way, I just noticed that Deeper into the Word Old Testament (the book that inspired you to write this post) is on sale at amazon for just $5.60 for the paperback. http://www.amazon.com/Deeper-Into-Word-Testament-Reflections/dp/B00A18J9J4/ref=sr_1_2_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361988970&sr=1-2&keywords=deeper+into+the+word

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