“Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.”
Ezekiel 20:12 (ESV)
“And keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.”
Ezekiel 20:20 (ESV)
God has given us HIS Sabbath so that we know that holiness comes from Him. Our righteousness is not derived from our works or good deeds. We can’t earn it. We can’t create it ourselves. The Sabbath is a gift, a reminder of God’s grace and provision.
He gives us Sabbath so that we may know that He is the Lord. God wants us to know who He is. He wants us to know Him personally. Sabbath signals our heartfelt desire to know God.
Keeping the Sabbath holy is a sign that proclaims, “I am His, and He is mine.”
It boldy declares our allegiance to God. It humbly admits our dependence upon Him for provision.
This is a new way of thinking for me. I often take Sabbath rest for granted. I go to church on Sunday and, generally, try to refrain from any unnecessary work. It’s a day of rest. But I’m just beginning to understand that the Sabbath is a bold declaration, even a battle cry against the onslought of this world. “I’m a daughter of the King, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, I don’t need to earn His love, I just need to rest in His care.”
How do we rest in His care? How can we honor God on the Sabbath? Does sitting on the couch watching TV count as Sabbath? Is it breaking Sabbath if I cook dinner or go for a walk?
We can make it difficult and try to add rules to the idea of Sabbath. Rather than focusing on what you can or can’t do. Let’s refocus on the purpose of Sabbath.
Spend time each Sabbath remembering Who God is and what He’s done for you. Look back over your week and notice instances of His presence.
Read through a passage of scripture slowly asking God to reveal Himself to you. Set aside quiet time to simply listen to what God is saying to you. You’ll be amazed at what you learn in the stillness.
The Sabbath isn’t for checking things off your to do list. It is for allowing God to replenish your mind, body, and soul. I’ve discovered that when I don’t or can’t take a day off that weariness overtakes my whole being. I tend to get cranky easier and feel out of sorts. Then the next Sunday comes and I’m refreshed by attending church, relaxing at home, and allowing my mind a few hours where it isn’t required to solve problems.
This may look like watching TV, reading a book, taking a walk, baking cookies or some other activity you find enjoyable and relaxing. If you aren’t sure if you “should” do something on Sabbath, go back to the first two recommendations: remember and slow down. Ask God what you need to do or what needs to wait. Sabbath is about you and God enjoying each others company.
Think Sabbath, not Sunday
Sunday and Sabbath may be interchangeable to you. But for me, Sunday is a day of the week. Sabbath is a verb (or can be). Sunday is the day I practice Sabbath. Those who work on Sunday can Sabbath another day of the week. The preacher and church staff do this. They work on Sunday so we can Sabbath. They get to take their Sabbath on a different day. A day to rest from the good, good work of sharing God’s Word with us.
Sabbath is the act of honoring God with our rest. And sometimes I do forget to Sabbath on Sunday even if I’m resting. What’s the difference? It’s a mental shift from, “It’s Sunday and I’m not going to do any work,” to “It’s Sunday (or your chosen day of the week) and I’m going to remember and honor God by thanking Him for His gift of Sabbath.”
One idea focuses on not working, which uses the same mindset as when I’m on vacation or any other day or moment that I consider “free time.” The Sabbath idea focuses on being mindful of how God’s presence and provision in my life. Sabbath focuses on our Creator. Sabbath draws us nearer to God.
Make it a Priority
Consider this, if Sabbath wasn’t that important, would it have made God’s top 10 list (i.e. the Ten Commandments)? “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Would God repeat His instructions to honor the Sabbath throughout the Bible if it wasn’t a big deal? And would He have listed it in the transgressions of Israel if He didn’t really care if they kept Sabbath?
It’s important. It’s vital to our health and spiritual growth. Sabbath isn’t a suggestion, it’s a directive from our Creator who knows how to keep His people in tip top shape. God prescribes Sabbath for the good of His people. We are made to rest and remember God regularly.
So if you don’t regularly practice Sabbath, I invite you to do so this month. And if you do practice Sabbath, I challenge you to delve deeper into its meaning and purpose. Do so, and I bet by the end of September, you’ll be nearer to God and in better spiritual and mental health.
Father, thank you for Your Sabbath. It is a gift we easily overlook and take for granted in our busy lives. Help us to honor Your gift by practicing Sabbath each week. Draw us nearer to You as we remember that our holiness and salvation come from You alone. Grow our awareness of Your presence and help us walk in Your way each and every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.