Taking a Break from Me and Mine
On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers apiece. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’ ” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses commanded them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none.”
On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
The Sabbath has got to be one fo the most neglected and abused of all God’s commandments (perhaps with the exception of Coveting). There are books galore you can find today on returning to a healthy practice of Sabbath. Many of them try to rationalize an excuse to get around to taking time off and reconnecting to God. Physical, mental, and spiritual health are vitally important to our lives, but it is still a very self-centered interpretation of the Sabbath command.
I can remember, as a young boy, having a messy room (I still do). On a semi-regular basis, my mother would tell me to clean my room. I really could not understand why it needed to be done. After all, I knew where everything was and I was not in any danger of stepping on anything in the middle of the night. I knew how to dodge and weave through the pathways of the nest that I had created for myself and for my own comfort and convenience. So I would ask her, “Why?”. Her answer, and the answer of many mothers over the generations was simple and to the point. “Because I said so.”
There may be, and often are multiple reasons for obeying God’s commands, and because He is good, we can expect that some of them are for our own benefit. There is always one reason though that falls outside of those interpretations. We are called to obey God’s commands because He is the highest authority in our life. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if that obedience profits us or not.
We are fools if we live our lives obeying parents, spouses, employers, customers, teachers, law enforcement, and political leaders unquestioningly but will not obey God without coming up with an excuse. For that matter, we are even greater fools if we follow our appetites and impulses unquestioningly but will not follow God. The heart is a deceitful thing… Faith ultimately will be measured by our obedience, not our ability to find profit in following God. Regardless of what happens during our Sabbath rest, it is meant to be a reminder that God is still the Lord of our life. Sabbath practiced under our own authority instead of God’s is not what He commanded us and misses the mark.
How do you practice Sabbath?
Why do you choose to practice it in that way?