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In the ancient world, grandpa would tell his grandchildren the story of creation. It goes something like this. The universe is a big bubble. Outside the bubble is water. One day, for whatever reason, the water god decided to pull the cork and let in all the water inside the universe. The universe filled up with water. It was a mess – like my basement after a rainstorm. So, the gods got together and asked the lightning-bolt god to fix the mess because he is powerful and quick. The lightening god said, “I am powerless. My lightning-bolts can’t do anything in all this water.” Then they turned to the powerful sun god who has vast influence over the universe. He said, “Water puts out fire. I can’t do very much with all of this water either.” The gods then turned to the wind god for help. He said, “I need air to wield my power. I can’t blow water.” Next, they turned to the fertility god. Everyone likes the fertility god. “I can’t do anything with all of this water. I need that delicate balance of sun, air, and water to become mighty again.” So they made a deal with the rent-a-god: “If you can fix our dilemma, you will be the god above all other gods. You will rule over all of us.” The rent-a-god came, saw the darkness, and made light. Then he took the water and divided the water from the land and put the universe in its proper order. And that is the ancient story of creation.

There is a reason I am telling you this. When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan and entered the Promised Land, they met many nations that occupied the land. One nation said, “We worship the lightning-bolt god: he is swift and powerful. The Israelites said, “I see.” Another nation said, “We worship the sun god because of his importance and power in the universe.” The Israelites said, “I see.” Another nation said, “We worship the fertility god because we have to grow things to eat.” The people of God said, “I see.” Then the nations asked the Israelites whom they worshiped. They responded, “We worship Yahweh.” They asked, “Who is Yahweh?” The Israelites answered, “He is the God who is above all gods, He is the creator of the universe: The rent-a-god.”  Then the Israelites told the story of creation, and all the nations recognized the details, except one: God rested on the seventh day. “Our God doesn’t rest,” they said. “The sun god can’t rest. The moon god can’t rest. The fertility god can’t rest.” But the God of all the gods can rest. That is how you can tell God from all the other gods. How can you tell Jesus is God? He lets us rest. “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” The Pharisees put heavy burdens on us, too heavy to carry. Not God. Kids don’t let parents rest. I know this from personal experience. I never let my parents rest. Teachers do not let their students rest.  Never!  Whenever there was a long weekend that was when we got an extra book to read.  Bosses do not let the worker-bee rest. Many times I recall my superiors asking me to go to a meeting the next day. I would say, “It’s my day off.” They would say, “I know, but this is important.” One year my brother got a new manager.  He called a department meeting and said to them. “I’ve worked every day of my life.  I never take vacations; I put my nose to the grindstone for the growth of the company.  I hope that you will have the same work ethic.” After the meeting, the manager went to my brother and asked him if he was going to come in on Sunday to complete the design of a new computer chip.   My brother said to him, “I would love to come in but ….God… church…worship, you know Sunday?”  The manager threw his arms in the air and said, “Alright then, Monday.”  God not only lets us rest but He is a good buffer from others who do not want us to rest.

One time I went home on my day off to help mom with the garden.  The plan was to take her to the nursery to get plants for the garden. I was all charged up and bolted in the door and said, “Mom, let’s go, we have a busy day.”  My father was in the living room and he said, “Peter come and sit down and rest for a minute.”  I said, “No, we have to get the garden done today.”  He said, “No, you don’t have to finish today. Come on over.”  I said, “Alright, five minutes.”  Now you know what happens when you sit on a La-Z-Boy and put your feet up and head back.  That’s right! I was out for an hour. When I woke up, I said, “What time is it?”  My mother looked over from her chair and said, “I knew it – you were exhausted after the weekend.  I’m glad you rested.”  When she said that I thought to myself, “My parents have God in them.”  You know when you have God in you when you let others rest.  You know when you have God in you when you lift people’s burdens, and you lift them up when they are down.  You know you have God in you when you can say what our Lord said today, “I will give you rest.”

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