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Principal's Pen: November 2022

Principal's Pen: November 2022

It sure seems that the United States holiday calendar was designed with teachers in mind. Teaching is one of the most rewarding yet intense and tiresome professions around. But long holiday breaks and well-timed three-day weekends always seem to come at just the right time and linger just long enough to charge our teachers' batteries and keep them at their best until the summer comes. Undoubtedly, a week off for Thanksgiving will energize the Berean staff for a last push of instruction through the first semester. Rest is good, and we are thankful for it.   

It's interesting to consider how the biblical concept of rest relates to the Old Testament story of the "manna" and the institution of the "Sabbath." Following the miraculous exodus from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites found themselves wandering in the wilderness, wondering if they had made a mistake, and worrying about what they would eat. Amazingly, they had forgotten that the God of the Universe, who parted the Red Sea to deliver them from the most powerful nation on earth, could provide for their ongoing needs, even in the desert. And though they doubted and complained, the Lord nonetheless rained down nourishment for them every night in the form of a food wafer that tasted of honey. When they first saw the wafers, they said, "man hu," a question in the Hebrew language translated as "what is it?" or "what's that?" And that's how the word "manna" came to be. Every morning it was there, and it sustained them until they crossed the Jordan river and took possession of the Promised Land. The manna was always just enough and was always just in time! 

But there is an important principle tied to the story of the manna, the principle of the Sabbath, a solemn day of rest. Though God instituted the Sabbath at Creation by resting on the seventh day, He specifically applied it to the Israelites after they began to horde the manna and behave as if His provision for them was insufficient. Many will recall the book of Exodus and how the hoarded manna spoiled and was found to have worms. To alleviate the hoarding, God, through Moses, told the people to gather a double portion on the sixth day of the week and to take the seventh day off from gathering. But resting one day a week from gathering manna must have been more than just physical rest, for the manna that was collected, i.e., an "omer," was the modern equivalent of just a few cups of cornflakes. The Israelites would not have to break a sweat to do that. So, the Lord must have had more in mind with the day off. Most likely, He wanted to eradicate the scarcity mindset from among them, i.e., the belief that He had not and would not provide enough. Working every day of the week to hoard manna created a false economic burden; taking a day off proved that God would provide. 

And while modern people are not under the Lord's theocratic governance of the Israelite people, the principle of the manna and the Sabbath remain. Theologian Walter Brueggemann wrote, "People who think their lives consist of struggling to get more and more can never slow down because they will never have enough." But like the ancient Israelites, modern Christians are reminded every Sunday, when they put the economic burdens of the week aside to worship together, that God has provided and they can rest.  
And while a holiday break is not always divinely ordained like the Sabbath, it can nonetheless send the same message - God has provided, and it is good to rest and trust His provision. So, on behalf of the Berean faculty and staff, I want to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. May it be an incredible time with family and friends. And may it be a time to slow down and reflect on our great God, who has provided the work of His Son so that those who believe in Him might find eternal rest and salvation for their souls. 

"So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his." (Hebrews 4:9–10, ESV) 

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