Many of us will recognize that Exodus 20 is the where we read the words God spoke to Moses, the Ten Commandments. We are given the Laws of God. These beautiful, functional, directive laws. In the New Testament, we learn from our brother Jesus, that His Father’s laws were given to us as a way to draw closer to the Father.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 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 animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he RESTED on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it Holy.” Exodus 20 NIV
In Ezekiel 21:12-24 The Lord shows us how his Sabbath was intentioned and entrusted to the people of Israel to show His mercy on them. The Lord is Creator and Redeemer. Verse 12 tells us, “Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them holy.”
It is through His redemption that we are made Holy. Through His righteousness.
The Lord implores us throughout His Word to seek Him continually and uphold His laws.
HOW DO WE DO THIS IN AN EVER BUSY WORLD?
I would love to profess that I am the best Sabbath taker. I wish I could say that I spend Sundays from the time church gets out to sundown resting and refocusing and remembering the goodness of the Lord. I don’t. I am learning to be a better Sabbath taker. I am learning to abide in all the Lord has to share and gift to me.
I love words. So when I was studying the meaning of Sabbath I went directly to my dictionary. Merriam Webster defines Sabbath as – the seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as rest and WORSHIP by Jews and Christians. AHHH…that WORD! WORSHIP! This was new to me.
I had learned from the beginning of my walk with Christ that Sabbath was rest. I had no idea of the component of Worship. This discovery opened my eyes and heart to a whole new world of God seeking.
The activities I love in my free time can totally serve as worship. I love painting and drawing. I love writing. All of these things can glorify and honor my Risen Savior.
I am not, by my own definition, good at resting. I tend toward Newtons Law of Motion…albeit neglecting the first part. “ A body at rest a will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force.”
I have ignored, like many of us on the Sabbath, that outside force. Our sweet Abba. Our Father in heaven.
As I read the continued verses of Ezekiel 21:12-24 I came to understand that the Lord is really commanding us to have a time to REST, REFOCUS and REMEMBER.
What does this mean:
REST-A verb, “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself or recover strength”. RECOVER STRENGTH. How many of us grow weary by week’s end only to almost dread the coming Monday. Yet, we ignore this command of Sabbath and press on through to Sunday night?
REST-A noun, “ An object that is used to support something.” So, here we see REST as both a verb…an action. And a noun…a thing, an object. Sabbath is a tool…perhaps an even greater tool would be GOD. He is our rest.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to you all who are weary and I will give you rest.”
JESUS commands us to come to HIM!!! Let’s run to HIM!!! HE promises a light yoke!
So what do we do in our rest??
The next word I came upon was REFOCUS: To change the emphasis or direction of. AHH!!! Our focus needs a shift. We need to focus on our GOD. Our Creator and Redeemer. Our shift needs to be from “what do I have to do on Sunday” to “who do I get to be with on Sunday?”
Too often we anticipate all week long how much we have to accomplish by Sunday night. This may mean a shift in our priorities. A shift in our organization. We may have to work a bit harder during the week to ensure that we take a proper Sabbath on Sunday. This may mean we need to re-evaluate all that we are involved in weekly in order that we may eliminate something to draw closer to our Creator. On the Sabbath.
Finally, I looked up REMEMBER: Another verb. Have or be able to bring to mind an awareness of someone or something that one has known or experienced in the past. Oh! An awareness of someone or something! Hmmm…
Remember is also defined as something that one has undertaken to do or that is necessary or advisable. Hmmm…something that is advisable…sounds vaguely familiar…perhaps somewhat like a commandment?
And finally, I learned “to remember” means to emphasize the importance of what is asserted. The Lord asserted in Exodus 20 the very importance of Sabbath rest. REMEMBER THE SABBATH AND KEEP IT HOLY.
How do we do this?
First, we repent and thank our God that he is merciful and loving and kind. And that He wants us to be seeking His heart and drawing closer to Him every day, but most deliberately on the Sabbath. I get it. Many people work on Sundays, there is another day that you can take off in your week. There is an afternoon, an evening, an early morning. The Lord gifts us moments to be with Him. He will gift you Sabbath time.
If we are willing to follow the other 9 commandments with strong conviction, why then do we feel we can rewrite the 4th Commandment. Why do we feel we have the liberty to change and make convenient for us the Word of God?
Matthew 2:27-28 “The Sabbath was made for Man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have ordained the Sabbath with us in mind. We thank you that you know what we have need of. We recognize that when we worship you and follow your commandments, are hearts have great peace, joy, and love. Lord, we ask now that you teach us how to enjoy our Sabbath worship and how to keep it holy unto you. And we ask that we will be blessed with abundant rest from our labors, for our souls! In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen and Amen.
Article Written By: Samantha Ewing