So we’ll deal with Facebook first. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with how my time disappears and this blog stands silent for many days at a time…I really want anyone who reads So Beloved to have a constant place they can go to for encouragement. Enter…a So Beloved Facebook page! Because I can at least manage an update-status-sized quote or song or something for the day…so please, please ‘like’ me on your friendly social network: http://www.facebook.com/pages/So-Beloved/102315609832767?ref=ts/
Now onto a few thoughts on the Sabbath, which we’re looking at in Genesis Chapter Two.
As I’ve looked a little deeper, it seems that the original word used in the Hebrew, when it says that God rested on the seventh day, implies that God abstained from further creative work. So He rested, taking time to look at His work and know that ‘it was good.’
We know that God wasn’t tired or out of ideas or anything like that…so maybe in blessing the seventh day, He was already thinking of us. He was setting a precedent…because, sometimes, we think we can do it all. We’ll keep going and going (whether it’s business or pleasure) until we’re absolutely worn out. We, literally, cannot take a 24/7 busy-busy lifestyle. It catches up with us. It drains us mentally, emotionally, and physically. We all need to have time to refuel, to sit back and look at the direction we’re traveling, to see if it’s ‘good’. Without time of reflection and evaluation, we’ll end up somewhere we don’t want to be. Or, on the positive side, we might see that we are on the right course and can have that moment of surrendering our next step to God. Either way, we need that quiet time…how else can we hear God’s still, small voice in the craziness of life?
Looking forward, we see that this day was important enough for God to include it in His commandments to the people of Israel. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20: 8-11). I love how He includes even the cattle in this commandment…He truly blessed us all with a day of refreshment…and, too, a chance to show our obedience to Him (obedience for our own good!).
Exodus 16 tells the story of God’s people in the wilderness after they left Egypt. They were hungry, and God heard their cry…and, to their amazement, manna (bread that tasted like a sweet honey-wafer) fell from heaven every morning. God gave them specific instructions concerning this manna…for each day, they were to gather an omer per person and to not leave any of it until the next morning. As the Israelites often had to learn the hard way like we sometimes do, they did leave manna out until the next day and it was rotten, infested by worms. On the day before the Sabbath, however, they were to gather and bake twice as much manna…because on the Sabbath, none would fall. Raise your hand if you would’ve liked being that person out there on the Sabbath morning, basket in hand, looking ridiculous while everyone else had their breakfast…I shudder when I think about it, because I know my own habit of procrastination….and here’s what God said about their disobedience. “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and laws? See, for that the Lord has given you the Sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16: 29&30).
So this whole passage really got to me. Confession: Sunday mornings have been way less than peaceful for me. Actually, by the time I get our family to church, I have often had to fight off massive irritation, impatience, and the thought that I’d be better off just staying at home…and when we were back home, all I’d want to do was collapse somewhere…but no such luck, because I’d have to get the house ready for the next week, make sure the laundry was finished, and pack up the boys’ school stuff. When I read about the manna not falling on the Sabbath, and the people gathering twice as much on the sixth day, it was like a light when off in my thick head. Here it is, the answer to my Sunday chaos — follow the example God gives me and prepare for His day. Prepare ahead of time! I know this sounds so simple and logical, but I’d never thought of it in this way before. If I truly want to honor the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy, then I have to put effort into it! Just by laying out everyone’s clothes the day before, finishing my housework by Saturday night, doing a few extra things here and there on that sixth day…then I free up my Sunday to actually focus on God — to make sure He is my priority–…and to spend peaceful time with my family. If being obedient and working on my relationship with God is truly important to me, then I have to reschedule my to-do list to leave that blessed day free…for blessings.
Because as I’ve realized this, and really tried to put this into action in my life, my Sundays are changing. It’s a work in progress, but I can already feel a difference. I’m joyful as I enter into the house of the Lord…I’m fulfilled and peaceful as I spend time with Him…I’m free to spend time with my family without thinking about everything else I need to do. Funny…that’s the second time I’ve used the word ‘free’. Isn’t it a wonderful paradox, the way submitting to God’s commandments brings us freedom? Now, one more promise from God concerning this day…and I’ll leave you with a challenge to refocus your Sabbath on Him!
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken. ~Isaiah 58:13&14