Snowstorms and Sabbath Rest
Text: Job 37:6-7 (ESV)
There was a blizzard in New York City that dropped 20 inches of snow. Both the commissioner of the NYC Sanitation Department and the mayor of the city took huge hits to their reputations because, as of the writing of this article (three days after the storm hit) many of the streets still have not been plowed! This is so scandalous that some in the New York City Council are also thinking about having hearings to investigate why this happened.
Mayor Bloomberg has prided himself on perhaps being the greatest of all the mayors in the city’s history. This will certainly dampen those sentiments. In spite of all this, I still have a high regard for Mayor Bloomberg’s ability to manage. I just think he made huge miscalculations this time!
(Here is a picture of the disruption the snowstorm has caused: Only those staff members of our church that are within walking distance have been able to get to work. Our church’s block was unplowed for two days. One of our ministers was stuck in traffic for more than eight hours–two days after the storm–trying to get to our church. The traffic is due to over 1,000 stuck MTA buses, stuck street plows and numerous cars. There were also some people stuck in subway trains overnight. One train was stuck for eleven hours because the snow messed up the third rail!)
As we see, even the most efficient mayors and systems in the world can be stopped by one sovereign act of God! (New York City has perhaps the most elaborate infrastructure in the world!)
The Book of Job in the Old Testament teaches us in 37:6-7 that God sends snow to the earth and makes it impossible for anyone to do anything so we will recognize His work. This sounds a lot like the biblical Sabbath in which humanity was commanded to take one day in seven to rest from work and worship the Lord as an act of faith showing how God delivers His people from hard labor to enter His rest (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
The idea behind this is that Sabbath rest is a sign between us and God that it is really He who grants increase to the works of our hands; that it is not fully dependent upon our work or effort but on His sovereign rule over creation and blessing towards us as individuals. The Bible teaches us that nature itself speaks of the wonder and power of God so that we are without excuse when it comes to faith and obedience towards Him (Psalm 19; Romans 1:18-22).
My family had plans to go out of state for a vacation this week but we are stuck in Brooklyn, New York because of the snow. Instead of skiing (as originally planned), we spent an extended time together as a family praying and sharing with one another because we had nowhere else to go.
In retrospect, this was the best thing we could have done with our time! I thank God that He occasionally disrupts our schedules and our lives so we can learn of Him, focus even more succinctly on our top priorities, and learn that we cannot control our own destinies!
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