2/27 Exodus 23:15-16

15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. 16 You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.

The LORD gave the nation of Israel laws for societal order, health, and worship. Jesus told us they all can be summed up in loving God with your all and your neighbor as yourself. When we look at the laws, we should be able to see the heart of God that gave them. In today's text, the LORD commanded the people to come to three feasts every year. In addition to taking off one day in seven to rest and one year in seven as well, they were to take these weeklong religious celebrations.

Rest is essential to our wellbeing. Some cultures take rest to an extreme, while others ignore the need altogether. Japan had a culture of work that encouraged men to give themselves without rest. Men were dropping dead in their early fifties for no apparent reason. The doctors simply named it "sudden death". These people worked themselves to death, ignoring God's design for regular periods of rest. After doing studies on proficiency and finding more was accomplished when people rested, companies began demanding that their employees take vacation time.

We can see God's gracious heart in commanding Israel to take time off to reflect and be refreshed. These worship gatherings were called feasts. They were to celebrate and enjoy life. Recognize your need for rest and find a balanced approach. Your body and spirit will tell you when it is time, but these guidelines that God gave His people are a good standard: one day in seven, and three weeks in a year. Don't feel guilty about taking the rest you need.

Meditation: God loves us and gives us instructions for our wellbeing. His commands to us are for our good. He even cares that we get sufficient rest.