Why the Fourth Commandment Holds the Key to Peace

Have you ever tried to sleep when you were stressed out about something? How did that work out?

Believe me, I’ve been there.

One time I lost three thousand dollars.

Okay, not exactly three thousand dollars, but I lost a three thousand dollar computer.

That wasn’t a very good feeling.

Photo Credit: Marc Farlardeau (Creative Commons)

My employer purchased forty iMacs for two classrooms. After carting them from the warehouse where they were delivered to the building where they would rest, my count came out to thirty-nine.

You just miscounted. The other one will show up.

But after unboxing and setting them up in the classrooms I realized that I had not miscounted. I had counted.

The panic slowly crept in.

I went back to the warehouse approximately seventeen times to make sure I had not overlooked the computer. But if you’ve ever seen a 27-inch iMac, you know they’re hard to miss.

I checked the packing slips, and they showed that forty computers were delivered.

I checked every closet, classroom, every storeroom I could think of.

No luck.

I did not immediately tell my boss, because I wanted to make sure that it was actually missing first. Because let’s be honest: I’m not the best at finding things.

“Baby, have you seen my wallet?”
“Check your back pocket.”
“Oh. Thanks. Did you just slip that in there?”

So I went home for the evening, and I tried to sleep that night.

But my mind wouldn’t let me.

Physically I was at rest, but my mind was still searching. Every classroom, every door, every box.

I did not get much rest that night.

Rest Means Peace

When the Fourth Commandment says to rest from work, it has some implied consequences; it means trusting in God—not in the work of our own hands—to provide.

When we do that, He gives us peace. And how can we truly rest without that?

You see I couldn't rest because I didn't have peace about the missing computer. Instead I was worrying about what would happen to me the next day.

But Jesus said not to worry:

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:34

Worrying constitutes a lack of faith. That lack of faith equals a lack of peace.

I was right to be concerned about the missing computer. I misplaced it, and I was responsible for it.

I was not right to obsess and worry over it. I was not right to think these thoughts:

That’s taxpayer money. I’m literally stealing from taxpayers. Isn’t that like a felony?
I’m going to get fired; my career in IT is done.
They’re going to think I stole it. They’ll never trust me again.

The LORD Will Provide

Do not worry, because God will not abandon His people in their time of need.

Remember when He saved Israel from Egypt?

He didn’t just stop after the Exodus.

He didn’t get them across the Red Sea and then say, “See you later. You’re on your own now.”

Instead He gave them the promise of their own land and traveled with them through the desert to get there:

 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

God didn’t just bring them out of Egypt and then abandon them. No, He set them on the path to the Promised Land.

It was not an easy path; the Israelites had to travel through the desert where there was no food or water except that which God provided.

Why didn’t God just usher the Israelites directly to Canaan? Why did they have to go through the desert at all?

I won’t pretend to know God’s ways, but I can venture a guess or two. He wanted them to learn to rely on Him, to realize that there is more to life than the material world in which we live.

Peace Is Not External

Our lives are like a wandering in the desert.

How then can we rest when we are always in need of water or food? When the desert sun beats down upon us?

How can we rest when we have to deal with illness, with the loss of loved ones?

The key is to look forward and remember God’s promise. Although life may be rough, we can rest in the fact that God always keeps His word. If we believe in Him, we will have eternal life (John 3:16).

And the assurance of eternity gives us peace.

Because peace is not an external thing. We always have conflict and pain swirling around us. We are always in want of water while in the desert.

The key is to trust in Him even when life doesn’t make sense.

Do that, and He will give you peace.

Cast Your Cares Upon Him

Eventually I did find the computer. It was tucked away in the corner of a closet I had checked a dozen times prior.

I slept well that night.

God wants you to sleep well too:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Do you believe that?

Rest from the work of trying to provide your own water, and God will grant you peace—even in the desert.


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  1. great post for a world whose underlying state is angst!

    1. There are quite a large number of people who could use the Peace only God can provide, huh?