Today I am writing from Bellingham. It is great to be home after being on the road for some time. I was blessed to speak at Everyone’s Church yesterday, but grateful that it was only a thirty-minute journey from my home. Family is great and I am a rich man with a wonderful wife, children and grandchildren around me. I am blessed!
Once again, I am going to continue on the topic of honor in the community of God. The Old Covenant revealed a shadow of the goodness we experience in Christ. What we have often thought of as ten commandments are a great description of a culture of honor. We must first see God for who He is. Honor is an action and an attitude that we express towards someone when we recognize who they are. Honor lives in the realm of truth and in the realm of love. It is a culture of nobility, of giving. God is first and He is the best. He is our deliverer, the One who gives us freedom. We have no other life sources. We give to Him first and we give Him our best. It is our way of life. It is a testimony of who we are.
We don’t worship anything that we create. We respond to who God is because we know who we are. We are expressions of Him. We don’t worship Him because He needs anything from us. We don’t even worship Him because we need something from Him. We don’t worship Him from insecurity, but security. He is good with us. He loves us. We respond to Him by telling Him we love Him. He walks into our room and gives gifts of His goodness. He changes our worlds.
We recognize that there is no separation between His world and ours. We are an expression of Him. We don’t take His name in vain. We honor His character, nature, way, power, and authority in all that we are and do. We are who we are for the testimony of who He is. It is part of our purpose. We are who we are and who we are is a testimony of His name.
A fourth attribute of culture of honor is found in Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
In the original creation the purpose of the Sabbath was not for man to rest from his labor, because man had not done any work. Man was created on day six and had not seen a day of work yet when the Sabbath day was created. Man’s first day was God’s seventh day in the creation of the earth. Man wasn’t looking for a break. He wasn’t thinking; My goodness, that was hard work! Wow, what a week! I am exhausted! I need a day off! Man hadn’t done any work yet! God had done all the work. The Sabbath wasn’t about working or not working for man.
The Sabbath day was about an experience with God. God was looking for a place to rest. Man’s week was about to begin, but God determined a place for His presence to rest in the earth. That place was with men. A new week was about to happen where man would have to work and God wanted man’s first experience to be one of God’s favor, blessing, and manifested presence. God wanted man’s first experience with Him to be one of no shame, no condemnation and no separation from Him. His heart towards each and every man could be expressed as: You haven’t earned anything. You haven’t worked hard to get Me to love you. You haven’t done anything. You haven’t accomplished a great business or established a great church or ministry. You haven’t plowed any fields or planted any crops. There are many animals and they don’t have any names. There is plenty to do, but it is not time to do anything yet. You need to know who I and you are first before I put you to work. There is something more important than a job. It is not about being lazy, but about being filled with My presence in order to accomplish your purpose. My presence in your life is going to give you vision, focus, energy, and great passion.
God’s presence in your life is going to determine what you do in life. What you do in life is not going to determine God’s presence in your life. In all that you do, you cannot make God better or worse. God doesn’t need you to rest from something you have not done or even done. He does not need to rest, but He wants to rest with you so that you can know true freedom and life. It is from that refreshing place that you can do anything. You will be able to do exceedingly way beyond anything you could ask or think. Even on a day that looks like God is asleep, He has more power than the fiercest dragon in all the earth. God wants you to know Him in His weakest moment in your life. He wants you to know Him from a place of contentment so you can know Him in any place of desperation that may come. He wants to rest in your life. If you know that God rests in your life and you go to work you are not going to work really hard so He will approve of you. You aren’t going to strive to gain His favor. You already have His approval. You already have His favor. He lives in your house. He lives in your world. He wants you to do great things, but you do not do things to please Him because He is not pleased with you. You do things to please Him because you have a revelation of how pleased He already is with you. This is the Sabbath day and it is holy to the Lord. The Sabbath is an experience with Him as a person.
Ted J. Hanson