Sabbath Confession

October 11, 2012

This is the final week of our current message series, “Life Apps.”  We’ve been talking about the application of God’s word in our lives. Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at forgiveness, confession, encouragement and trust as life applications, basics in our approach to life and relationships. I have really enjoyed this series because it is so practical and useful, and personally challenging. This week we’re looking at the concept of “Sabbath.”

Sabbath is part of creation from the beginning, God rested on the 7th day of creation.  He didn’t do that for himself, he did that for us, to model rest. Later, when the commandments were given, God commanded Sabbath, which is the English version of a Hebrew phrase “day of rest” or “day to cease and desist.” As God pointed out to Moses at the time, slaves never stop working.  God doesn’t want his kids to live like slaves, he wants us to stop.  And when we do, we honor him.

Later on, David, who knew more about honoring and worshiping God than anyone who had ever lived, wrote about Sabbath rest (in the Psalms, where it is mentioned dozens of times). David was one of the busiest men in the whole world…he constantly found himself in minor brawls and major battles, running all over the place, dealing with rebellious kids and difficult in-laws and an unreasonable boss (is any of this sounding familiar? ). How was he able to do it all?

David knew all about Sabbath rest. In one place he says, most famously:

The Lord’s my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.

Psalm 23

We need time to cease and desist, when it comes to our work, and our “to do” list, and our chores and our running around being busy; we need a break from all the texting and technology and information overload and demands and duties.  We need rest.

And that is a deeply challenging subject for me. Here’s why: I do not have hobbies or play games, I do not play or follow sports, I am not an outdoor person, I do not cook or garden, I am not interested in cars or bikes, trains or planes, I do not paint, I do not do arts and crafts. I do not go to the theatre or out to movies, I hate to shop…so, what do I do?

Not much apparently…but I do work.  I like to work, I always have, I go to the office every day. I am not naturally good at the Sabbath command.  But I need to be, I need to follow God’s command, and so, more recently, I have been getting (a little) better at it.  I still don’t take a full 24-hour Sabbath (I doubt many people, besides Observant Jews do).  Here’s my Sabbath plan though: three mornings a week, I get up in a leisurely fashion (no alarm clock), go and work out, then get coffee and read my Bible. I don’t get to the office before 10:30-11 on those days.  And at least two evenings a week I am quiet at home, no homework, no paperwork, just reading or watching an old movie or political stuff on TV (I am a junkie for politics) or once in a while dinner with friends. That’s it, that’s my plan…does not always work out that way (sometimes not even close) but that is the plan. Pretty simple, right?

Sabbath is not about doing anything, it is about being something. Just being yourself  before God, as a way of honoring God because he is in control, he is producing, we are trusting.  And somehow or other, as David points out, that is more than refreshing, it is restoring…Sabbath restores the soul.

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  1. We went to Amish country last weekend and one of the slogans on a brochure was “Slow down the hurry.” Sounds like a good slogan for Sabbath!

  2. At Time Travelers during the last week of APPS, the kids were asked a question about the readings and they responded that sometimes people forget to rest with Jesus. I thought, wow, what a novel perception–just rest with Jesus and things will work. Kids are so cool and I love the way Jesus uses them to teach us. May we all learn to “rest with Jesus” frequently.

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