Read Isaiah 56
Focus on verse 2
Eat right, exercise regularly – die anyway! If this were true, what would be the purpose? This little saying has an obvious point…being that while healthy living might delay death a little, death continues to be inevitable. There may also be a deeper not so obvious point… that though death is inevitable, eating right and exercising can make the time we have here a better experience.
In today’s reading the Lord exhorts us to “keep the Sabbath, not profaning it” and to keep our hands from doing evil. (v. 2) He also gives us a motive for doing this. He tells us those who do this will be blessed. When I first read this I thought to myself, “this sounds rather like something upon which one could build a theology of works… AKA – do the right thing and God will love you – do the wrong thing and BOOM – you are in big trouble with God!” As I contemplate this further, it occurs to me that it may not be that way at all. This is not God saying to us “you better watch out – I’m watching you and if you step out of line I’m going to lower the boom on you.” Rather, it is God saying – “I want what is best for you, and if that is what you want for yourself, here is how you can achieve it – “Keep justice, and do righteousness… keep the Sabbath and don’t profane it!” It’s not that hard, and the rewards for doing this are that good things will happen to you.
Where we often go off the rails with this is that we try to turn it into a manipulation scheme…AKA “God I been living like you said, now show me the money! Where is my blessing?” The problem with this type of thinking is that the blessing that comes to us as a result of living in obedience to God is defined according to God’s definition of blessing rather than ours. The result is that the blessing we receive is not always packaged the way we think it should be, however, we can be assured that it is always packaged in the way that God intended it to be, and that He had our long term best interest in mind.
Right living has its rewards; I would not say that living right is easy, however in the long run it does seem to be less complicated than pursuing my own whims and desires. The rewards of living according to God’s design for us are that we fulfill the purpose for which we have been created.