Our theme for this month: “Change is good for you”
Our Bible verse for today: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work – you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your gates. For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath and declared it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You need to practice Sabbath”
The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat” and literally means “to stop”. As John Mark Comer wrote in his book “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”, “Sabbath is simply a day to stop: stop working, stop wanting, stop worrying, just stop.” It’s a time to take our focus off of the demands and chores and obligations and worries that fill up our lives the other six days of the week and to focus on God, and then on ourselves. It’s a time intended by God for us to worship, rest, renew, and enjoy.
Many Christians today mistakenly believe that the concept of Sabbath was an Old Testament teaching that applied only to the Jews, and that it doesn’t apply in the New Testament Age. But that’s just not true.
Observing the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandants (the fourth). It’s the only spiritual discipline that made it onto that list. Praying is not one of the Ten Commandments. Neither is reading your Bible; or putting a check in the offering plate; or serving in a ministry at church; or any of the other things we normally associate with the ways in which we practice our faith. Only the practice of Sabbath is on that list of Ten Commandments and none of the Commandments have been superseded or done away with. It’s not as if there are only Nine Commandments still operative in our day. All ten of them still apply, including observing the Sabbath.
The concept of Sabbath – of just “stopping” is so important, and we need it so badly, that God modeled it for us in the creation account by resting on the seventh day. It’s not as if He was tired; it’s not as if He had things He needed to stop fretting about for a day; it wasn’t that He had unfulfilled wants and desires that occupied His thoughts the other six days of the week and which He needed to let go of for a while. God rested as an example for us. In Mark 2:27 Jesus even told us that God created the Sabbath for our benefit. You need a day of the week that is set aside exclusively to refocus on God in worship, and then to rest and recuperate – and the truth is that many of us are bad at this. Many of us make excuses for skipping church, and then we fill our Sundays with busyness and chores.
Hopefully one of the changes each of us experiences as a result of this COVID 19 isolation is we will come out of it with a renewed appreciation for our group worship experiences, and for the importance and pleasure of downtime and renewal. That’s what the practice of Sabbath is supposed to be for us.