THE LORD SAID TO MOSES: “TELL THE ISRAELITES: YOU MUST OBSERVE MY SABBATHS, FOR IT IS A SIGN BETWEEN ME AND YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS, SO THAT YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM YAHWEH WHO SETS YOU APART.
I once heard a pastor of a church in Hawaii say “My Sabbath is a Monday because I work on Sundays. And my favourite thing to do on the Sabbath is surf. Unless there’s a huge swell and the waves are really big. When I look out to the ocean on those days, I know it wouldn’t be good to spend my day of rest out there.”
I was like “… Ehm… What!? Surely the Sabbath is a Sunday by definition. And surely that guy, being a pastor, spent his Sunday focused on God. Does that not count?” I did not understand then what Jesus meant when He said “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
The Sabbath is a day of rest, a gift to us, from our loving God. He set us this example when He created the universe and everything in it over six days. Afterwards, He took a day to rest. God did not need rest, He is God! He wanted to rest. He thought it was a good idea. He still does.
When we take seriously God’s commandment to take a day off each week, we have a chance to be restored. Spend a day - each week - doing things that allow you to rest, slow down, switch off. Spend time in prayer, listen to God, read the Bible and worship. It takes a heart surrendered to God to set aside the tasks and things that keep you busy.
“So that you will know that I am Yahweh who sets you apart”. You can know Him, as you are set apart. You are special to him. So carve out a day – set it apart, for you and Him.
What makes you come alive? What makes you think “wow, isn’t God good?”. I love getting outdoors and seeing as much light and distance as possible – preferably a view from the top of a hill. On the other hand, my husband is just as satisfied seeing no further than the book at the end of his nose, in our dimly lit basement flat. Really it is about whatever works for you. Intentionally guard this day from your usual days. Fill it with things that allow you to enjoy God and this world he has created for you to enjoy.
When you intentionally empty a day a week for time with God, you are not left lacking; you are filled! My friend Hannah once told me “Sabbath isn’t a day to rest from work. It’s so that when you work, you work from rest”. May your soul be nourished, your mind and body rested, and spirit revived on these days. Enjoy!