The Practice of Sabbath
Many of us because of COVID-19 are not attending our church, adhering to the resolution of social distancing. We are watching online, trying our best to stay focused, but sometimes we can get distracted with all the things going on at home. Duties and responsibilities can tug at us and pull us from what God intends for us on his holy day.
We should not lose sight of the Sabbath and it purpose for our lives.
The fourth commandment tells us to "Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy" (Exodus 20:8 NIV). It is also followed by a commentary."For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (v.11).
The fourth commandment points us back to the creation story, the story of the work and rest of God himself. God teaches us to model our work after him.
God doesn't pile all his work into one day. He takes his time. He wants to enjoy it. He stands back and looks and says "It is Good"
God is giving us the biblical and theological justification to have the best day of the year every week.
Do you see what is happening here?
Rest as I rested says the Lord.
Sabbath rest was so important to God that he set it apart.
God created man on the sixth day and gave him a job to do. Rule over and subdue the earth but he did not start to work on the seventh day but the next day. The first day for the human was not to work in order to rest but to rest. The Sabbath day was designed to inspire us for the rest of the week. He showed us that work is not so important that you can't put it down.
We must figure out how to make time for a day once a week when we are not working, put joy and blessedness in the forefront, and find our rest in God.
Yes it is hard but the rewards are worth it.
Under the hood of our inner lives, we always think that we are not doing enough. We think, "I need to get back," "I need to check my email." " I need to check in with... "
Our work habits are teaching our inner life that we shouldn't take time away from what we do for a living.
We need a way to silence that "inner murmur", a way to silence what pulls us away from God.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls."
(Matthew 11:28-29 NIV)
To quiet that "inner murmur" we need to look at what keeps us from resting on the Sabbath.
1. An imbalanced relationship to work. If work is what ultimately provides meaning in our lives, we will not rest, even on our days off. We must balance this. We must put God first.
2. The pride of business. We love to tell others how busy we are. How much we still have to get done, how overwhelmed we are by all our tasks. So we boast.
" I have 100's of emails", and we talk about how much we have to do.
The world will not come to a stand still, if we stop.
3. We have learned not to rest. We feel like if we are not working, we are letting people down. We are letting our family down. Our work habits unconsciously teach us things we know to be false.
Honoring the rest of the Sabbath will help humble us. We need to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man.
The sabbath is our confession that the world is held together by Christ's hands, not ours.
The goal of Sabbath is to give us a rest from labor so our souls can say:
I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with it's mother,
Like a weaned child I am content. (psalm 131:2 NIV)
This takes time, but it comes.