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Seven

Weekly Devotionals

Seven

In light of Pastor Dave’s sermon this past Sunday on rest – HDIIGJ! – I thought this chapter from Alicia Britt Chole’s book, the Sacred Slow was appropriate to reflect on the number Seven.

Seven

Literally, a prime number between six and eight

Figuratively, a symbol with spiritual weight

A seven-day test for Saul as Israel’s king

Seven demons cast out of Mary Magdalene

Seven baskets of broken bread after the crowds ate

Seven years times two for Jacob to work and to wait

Seven powerless sons of Sceva humbled beyond words

Seven wise, Spirit-led men chosen by the church to serve

Seven dips in the Jordan River for the healing of Naaman

Seven rich years of plenty followed by seven years of famine

Seven final phrases of our Suffering Savior, Jesus Christ

Seven times for Elijah’s servant to search the clear, blue skies

Seven days for work and for rest in the account of the creation

Seven churches forewarned and addressed in the book of Revelation

Seven days of marching in faith around the tall walls of old Jericho

A furnace seven-times hotter for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Seven figures prominently in Scripture as a period of waiting, warring, warning, and wisdom.  The number boundaries intentional times, set-apart spaces, moments kissed by the divine, and resting places. 

In Genesis 2:2-3, God rested on the seventh day and called it holy.  In Exodus 20:8-11, within the Ten Commandments, God called His people to set aside every seventh day as a holy day of rest.  And in Leviticus 25:1-7, God gave His people instructions to set aside as sacred every Sabbath year: 

1The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. 6 Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.

Imagine being in the congregation on the day when Moses announced, “God is calling us to slow down.”