By Brenda Jank
God says, “Remember the Sabbath.
I forget a lot.
Even though this commandment gets little attention, it’s an easy one to “keep” by most standards. You go church and 60 minutes later the duty is done, Sabbath is kept.
Most of us don’t even know what we’re missing.
To combat my propensity for forgetfulness, I’ve discovered some insights that help me remember: truth, confession, focus.
A peek into God’s Word gives us a peek into God’s heart.
Last words carry some weight, some clout.
When Moses came off Mt. Sinai (the first time) after his 40-day encounter with the Living God, take note of God’s final instructions to Moses.
12 The LORD then gave these instructions to Moses: 13 “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. …15 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the LORD. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. 16 The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. 17 It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed.’” Exodus 31:12-13, 15-17 (NLT) 〈emphasis added〉
Remembering that Sabbath is Commandment #4 (see * below) – Exodus 20. The first three commandments speak about our relationship with God. The final six speak about our relationship with people. Number four is the bridge. Sabbath keeping impacts our walk with God and our walk with each other. My children will attest to this fact. Mama’s a whole lot easier to live with when she’s rested and refreshed.
When it comes to Sabbath keeping, God pulled out his highlighter. More than once. He added exclamation points in all five books of the Torah and throughout the entire Old Testament. Outside of idolatry, it seems to be a commandment near and dear to the heart of God.
Moses seemed to get the point. First chance he got, Moses shared what was most pressing on God’s agenda and his.
1Then Moses called together the whole community of Israel and told them, “These are the instructions the LORD has commanded you to follow. 2 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the LORD.” Exodus 35:1-2a (NLT) 〈emphasis added〉
The truth is – God takes Sabbath quite seriously.
- Where does Sabbath fall on God’s priority list?
- Where does it fall on yours?
- Allow the Spirit to reign, full and free.
Don’t jump ahead to the “how in the world would this work?” Just focus on the Word. More on this topic will be coming your way in 3 shorter posts, instead of a single long one. I want this exploration to be insightful, practical and user-friendly in every way.
*When most Christians number the Ten Commandments, Sabbath keeping comes up #4. Lutheran and Catholic believers recognize it as #3.
Note: This post is part of our original series on rest. We are re-posting some of our favorite articles because we believe they are just as important today as ever. We hope to encourage and inspire you and those you love and lead to REST WELL through this time of COVID-19 crisis, comeback, and recovery. Onward!
- Would you like to start at the beginning and read this whole series? Click here.
- Would you like to read the post that preceded this one? Click here.
- Would you like to read the next post in this series? Click here.
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