February, 2022 – Faithful Living ~
As I sit down to write this, it is Sunday morning. The Bible reading for today, speaks of the Sabbath day—to keep it holy unto the Lord. How timely.
When was the last time you really took a day to veg and do nothing…absolutely nothing? For me, it doesn’t happen very often. You?
It’s one thing to constrained so you can’t physically do anything, [i.e. being hooked up to a myriad of wires and tubes in a hospital bed fighting for your life] and quite another to have the ability to consciously choose to refrain from any activity that would be construed as work.
For God’s chosen people in Biblical times as even today, He set aside an important day for them to become refreshed. This day of the week was set aside for the Jewish nation as the first sacred and most treasured of institutions. This ritual was initiated to set the Hebrew people apart from everyone else on earth.
Placing a high honor on resting was originated by Yahweh Himself. He created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. God certainly didn’t need to do this but He took a break to model the posture for us.
God emphasizes, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths for this is a sign between me and you throughout all your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord sanctify you.” Exodus 31.13, ESV.
The Jewish people call this sacred day Shabbat [meaning-rest from labor]. As their calendar records days from sunset to sunset, this custom begins at sunset on Friday and continues literally, until 3 stars appear in the sky on Saturday evening according to Wikipedia.
This requirement was not optional, it was compulsory. Anyone caught breaking the Sabbath, thus profaning it, would be put to death—by stoning; therefore, severing their soul from the people. Strong language, don’t you agree? That’s because El Shaddai [God Almighty] was dead serious about it.
The Bible records the first case in Numbers 15:32-36. Here the punishment is levied on a man who was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath. When was the last time you heard of someone being killed because they worked on the Sabbath? I don’t recall seeing or hearing of one incident in my lifetime.
The Roman Emperor Constantine in the early fourth century, moved the observance to Sunday from Saturday and for basically the rest of the world, it remains.
If this statute was enforced today for Christ followers, my life would have been taken many years ago. I still wrestle with working in my business on Sunday. When duty calls, I go. As a funeral director years ago, you couldn’t tell people not to die on Sunday…but I could say no to clients as a real estate broker today, that want to see homes on Sunday or say no to sellers that want to have an open house on the Sabbath, etc. But I don’t…as of yet.
How important is it to you and me in reserving one day of the week to focus not on us and our worldly desires, so our attention and devotion can be placed toward the Creator of all things?
Although I have to work sometimes on Sundays, I hope the Lord sees my heart in remembering Him for His goodness and faithfulness to me and my family each day of the week; this constant meditation of praise and thanksgiving continues throughout the week, not just on Sundays. To honor and glorify Him for what He has done and continues to do in and through our lives, this I hope, is your heart as well.
God knows we can all use a day of leisure from the busyness of our lives. That’s why He created this VIP special day for us, so we can take time to fully rest and remember Him.
Maybe for you it’s not Sunday. Whatever day or “reserved” time[s] of the week you have set aside, simply allow the whisper of the Lord to cause you to lie down in greener pastures for awhile; so, He can then lead you beside gentle still waters. And, with these treasured, coveted and intentional acts of simply letting go, Jesus can refresh our bodies and renew our souls.