“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NIV
I am challenged by this week’s topic – Sabbath and rest. I watched a video by Walter Brueggmann on keeping Sabbath. He would define keeping Sabbath as – setting aside one day a week in which we do not focus on productivity, where we stop “work”, where we rest, slow down, listen – so that we can receive from God. I find this difficult to do (as I imagine many of you do too), and I was challenged to see if it might be possible for me to change my schedule, my habits, and strive to do this for myself.
I found many passages in the Bible that talk about the benefits we can enjoy if we set aside a Sabbath day.
” ‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ The mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3-4) NIV
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2) NIV
These passages speak of delighting ourselves in God, in his word, in keeping a day of rest. The Jewish people were told to keep Sabbath as a sign to the world that they were God’s people: it was a defiant act; it declared to the world that God would provide; the Jewish nation did not need to work 7 days a week. We have the same God; He will provide for us as well.
Read Isaiah 55. Look at what God asks us to do and what He promises to do for us. Use this chapter to read, slow down, listen and receive what God is saying to you about how you keep Sabbath.