I have started to feel like the weekends are invisible. There doesn’t seem to be enough of a difference between Saturday/Sunday and the rest of the week. First, it is a dilemma to work at a church, because when you are there on Sunday for a personal time of worship, everyone else just thinks you are working. And since I like to be helpful, I always go along with it and do whatever is being asked of me. So Sunday is a work day even though it is not a paid work day. And Saturday is the day I used to have as my Sabbath rest day, but I now work every Saturday evening. And while 90 minutes on Saturday night isn’t the end of the world, it has also been Saturday mornings as well for many weeks now.
So I am gonna eke out another day of the week to REALLY have an entire day to not be in the building that contains work. I have the kind of job that lets me do that- rearrange when I do the work as long as it gets done before it is needed by someone else.
I have to laugh, as I opened this and saw the title I gave the post THIS PAST WEEKEND, when I started it and could not find enough quiet time to really get my thoughts in the right direction. So for sure, this past week was totally invisible!
God has me wrestling with the idea of Sabbath Rest. I am working through the first eleven chapters of Genesis in a Jen Wilkin study, and the day of rest first comes up in Genesis. God has finished creation and He indicates He is done by declaring a day of rest. This seventh day was blessed and called holy. The Israelites were reminded and commanded often how important it was to observe that day as blessed and holy.
Did the earlier people like Noah and Adam and Eve observe the Sabbath? Or was this instituted once there was a chosen people? And was the Sabbath specifically for the chosen people alone , or as believers under the New Covenant are we to follow the Sabbath idea in this day and age?
I have heard it said that if Jesus spoke of the Old Testament laws in the New Testament, that was our indication to continue the observance of that law. One comment Jesus makes is that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The New Living Translation words this as the Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people; not vice versa.
When God instituted the Sabbath in the 10 commandments He said, in Exodus 20:
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 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.
It is repeated in Exodus 5 with pretty much the same wording. So the Israelites couldn’t work, nor require work from anyone they were in authority over. And the Sabbath is marked as the seventh day. Well, since days of the week and which day is first is totally a man made thing, there is no way to know which day God marked as the Sabbath. But would it work to tell ourselves that one in every seven days should be a rest day. And God is OK with picking the day?
What to do on that day. Rest, right? Yes, but I also think that since the day is blessed and holy, it should have a higher level of devotion to the Lord going on. When I have had this day of rest in my schedule, I made sure that I stayed home and spent way more time in the Word and in prayer than I get to spend in my morning quiet time. I nap if I am tired, but physical rest from the chaos of life can look different for each person. Lots of times, I would lay in bed and read a book that edified the Lord and helped me wrestle with His word better.
A sweet friend adds fasting on that one day a week as part of bringing holiness and blessedness into that day of rest for herself. I like that idea.
It is a complicated wrestling match , this Sabbath thing. And then, if you throw Hebrews 4 into the pot, it becomes so much more so. Verses 9-11 in that chapter leads me to believe that we in this day and age are still suppose to practice the idea of a sabbath rest:
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
This whole chapter makes me think that one day, in eternity, we will experience a Sabbath rest every week as God intended it to be experienced. Until then, we should be “making every effort” to enter that rest as well as it can be entered here on this sin-filled earth.
And another thing I am sure of is that when we make every effort to do what we think is pleasing to God and abiding by Scripture, God will be pleased with our honest and true efforts. So even if He never intended us to still be following the idea of a Sabbath rest, he isn’t going to punish me if I do. The blessedness of the day and the holiness of the day will be imparted to me in a small degree as I seek to honor Him.
Don’t let it become a legalistic thing, though. No Sabbath following to the detriment of something that God would say is as important. Like relationships. Like serving. Remember the day was made to meet the needs of us people, not the other way around.
I am learning that for every act of pure devotion I choose to give the Lord, I am blessed ten fold. Gaining one day each week to not be in the building where I work seems like a heavenly idea, and it can only serve to help my attitude, which so often is not what it needs to be, due in part to a need for rest, a ceasing from the chaos called work for just a short time. And never think that obeying God in any way elevates your standing before Him. Your standing is your standing, based only on the blood of Jesus. But the funny thing about the rest is that it is for MY benefit. Out of all the commandments, it is the one that is entirely self-serving, at least in my eyes. It is like a present all tied up with a bow, handed to us by our Creator. We just have to figure out how to utilize it in our lives on a regular basis.