Monday, November 15, 2010

Keeping the Sabbath

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath,
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honourable,
and if you honour it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
~ Isaiah 58:13-14

Normally, when I read Isaiah I feel overwhelmed.  Everything being written is written in common speech.  Each individual verse makes sense to me, but I regularly find myself glancing back to remind myself of the broad picture being discussed and that is when I get overwhelmed and start to just carry on reading until God brings a verse to my attention, not concentrating too much on the meaning behind any verse until that point.

This time, the verses quoted above were the ones God brought to my attention.  Then again, while reading Mark the following verses were brought to my attention…

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.
~ Mark 1:35

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
~ Mark 2:27

These verses started my train of thought along it’s journey.  Isn’t one of the 10 commandments to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy? (By the way, the answer is Yes).  What does a typical Sabbath look like in my household?  That’s easy…

I wake up when I wake up (no alarm clock on a Sunday).  I make my coffee and sit down in front of the computer to read emails.  Then I turn on a computer game and play for the rest of the morning.  At lunch time I start cooking my main meal of the day.  And I enjoy that while watching something on TV.  Normally at this point I remember something that needs to be done before Monday and I start working on it.  If not, the computer game is continued until it is time for the evening church service.  After that I have a cup of tea and do my evening Bible study or read a book.  Then it is off to bed to start Monday morning.

This is not how God wanted us to keep the Sabbath, sure it is to be a day of rest, but it is also meant to be a day we focus on him and allow him to renew our spirits for the week ahead.

Have you ever tried working for 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year?  I am convinced that any normal person would crash and burn very quickly.  We need a day of rest!  We cannot survive without a day of rest.  The Sabbath is more for our benefit than anything else.  Our spiritual journey can become so much stronger if we take a day off once a week, or even for an hour or two, to have in depth prayer and study of God’s word.

Even Jesus sought a solitary place to be alone with God and pray.  The Bible does not say whether it was a Sabbath day or not, but that is besides the point, the point is that he got up early to be alone with God.  When did you last get up early to be alone with God?  I did today, for the first time in weeks.  And I intend to make a commitment to keep the Sabbath holy from this day forward, using it as a time to focus on God and rest with as few worldly distractions as possible.

For those of you who have already heard what happened, it was at this point in my blog post I started getting horrible pains in my right hand side.  I was taken to the emergency room at the hospital and it turned out to be a Kidney Stone.  I have thought about continuing the post (24 hours later), but decided against it because there is no more to say.  I am alright now.  God was with me through it.

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