A Sabbath Rest
How did I recover? How did I get free of adrenaline dependence and anxious overworking? By slowing down for a Sabbath rest. How do Christ-followers learn about the Sabbath today? We rarely talk about it in our churches. Most people disregard it.
Most pastors disregard it. Actually, keeping a Sabbath day to honor the Lord and for personal rest and renewal is the most repeated command in the Bible. And the New Testament has a lot to contribute to our understanding. For instance he says:. The two biblical reasons for sabbath-keeping develop into parallel sabbath activities of praying and playing.
A Sabbath Rest: Understanding Hebrews 4 | Adventist Today
The Exodus reason directs us to the contemplation of God, which becomes prayer. The Deuteronomy reason directs us to social leisure, which becomes play. Praying and playing are deeply congruent with each other and have essential inner connections…. What is it like to pray? To play? Puritan Sabbaths that eliminated play were a disaster.
Secular Sabbaths that eliminate prayer are worse. Sabbath-keeping involves both playing and praying. Read Psalm The Sabbath is a day to let go, to stop trying to control people and situations. Keeping the Sabbath teaches us to trust God and enjoy Him. It helps us to be governed by our good God in what we do and in how we do it. God is with me helping me and working all things together for my good so I can be happy no matter what!
At the beginning of creation, even before Adam and Eve sinned, God gave to them the gift of Sabbath rest by showing them that Sabbath is creative work that it is part of his own nature. He blessed this day and set it apart as a holy a day for them to focus on enjoying his presence with them Genesis They followed an extensive list of rules designed to prevent anyone from doing any work.
But people were so burdened with the work of trying not to do any work that Sabbath-keeping was obscuring the grace and healing of God that it was intended to offer!
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Mark But none of what Jesus did or said was meant to do away with Sabbath-keeping. Furthermore, he followed the best part of the Jewish custom of honoring the Sabbath, while rejecting the legalistic application that was burdening the people Luke , Mark He enjoyed going on leisurely walks in fields and by the lake, receiving hospitality from friends, and retreating into extended hours of solitude and silence with the Father.
We know that Jesus took naps and probably he took naps on his Sabbath. It occurred in the context of his life with others in community. This can be difficult—both for those who struggle with the prospect of not having enough and for those who struggle with the peril of not recognizing what is enough.
Learning to trust God for our provision is an ongoing challenge, particularly if we are prone to compulsive work habits. Gordon MacDonald, a U. The more we want, the more revenue we must produce to get it. The more revenue we must produce, the longer and harder we have to work. So we build larger homes, buy more cars, take on added financial burdens and then find ourselves having to work harder to pay for it all. More work, less rest.
The Sabbath rest is a regular repudiation of the covetousness for more. It is a statement to ourselves that there are other things in life besides producing and consuming. And that there is more to our identity than what we do or what we produce. We are not the sum total of our bank accounts, nor of the work or responsibilities we carry.
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Of course, compulsive work habits are not limited to those who struggle with affluent culture. They are also a temptation for those who struggle to simply provide the basic necessities for themselves and their families. While religious people over the centuries tended to pile up regulations defining what constituted keeping the Sabbath, Jesus said clearly that God made the Sabbath for us—for our benefit. What are we to learn from this? The all-important matter is to understand our response to God's covenantal actions as mediated through God's promised Messiah 1 John Yeshua our Sabbath Rest Since we are no longer bound by the terms of the Sinai Covenant i.
We are no more obligated to "keep the Sabbath" -- especially as defined by Messiah-denying rabbis -- than we are to stone our children who are disobedient or to execute homosexuals both of which are commanded in the law of Moses: Deut.
Slowing Down for a Sabbath Rest
In this regard "Sabbath observance" is tied to the terms of a covenant that was "destined for obsolescence" Heb. Likewise we are no longer beholden to the Levitical priesthood i. Since we have a "better covenant based on better promises" Heb. The law of Moses made "nothing perfect" but the ministry of Yeshua now allows us to truly draw near to God Heb. Yeshua's sacrifice tore down the veil of the Holy of Holies itself, and now we are invited to come "boldly" before the Throne of Grace to find help for our lives Heb.
The Divine Light is no longer concealed to those who trust in God, since this Light represents our salvation in Yeshua John , 2 Cor. The Torah of Messiah is now one of sacrificial love and gemilut chasidim Rom. We fulfill the Torah's inner intent by abiding in the love of God as given to us in the Messiah Yeshua John We are no longer slaves under Sinai but are free citizens of heavenly Jerusalem.
Sarah, not Hagar, is our spiritual mother Gal. We have liberty in Messiah Gal. We are circumcised with an inward, heart circumcision Col. Those who trust in Yeshua are made spiritual Jews and are partakers of the covenantal blessings given to Israel Rom. Adultery is a form of promiscuity that violates covenantal responsibility. Those who denigrate the covenant of the Messiah by claiming that something else must be added to His sacrificial work are called spiritual adulterers see Rom. Trying to mingle the covenants of Sinai and Zion leads to confusion and to potential destruction Gal.
New wine cannot be put into old wineskins Mark We are to honor the Son as we honor the Father John If we love Him and genuinely desire to please Him, we will fulfill the inward intent of the Torah in our daily lives Jer.
Robert Shaw, D.Min.
All of the moral law of the Torah is restated in the New Testament -- but even more radically. We ask the Holy Spirit for help in discerning the truth on a personal, moment-by-moment basis. We trust in God's guidance and help as He promised in the terms of the New Covenant. Freedom doesn't mean we're "free to do whatever we want," but rather we're "free to love God without fear Yeshua came to elevate our lives and bring us safely to the Father as redeemed children Eph. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
If nullifying the Torah warrants death, then nullifying the redemptive work of salvation warrants even greater retribution