Become – Sabbath and Slowing – Stephen Orr 9/05/21

Passage: Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

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

We Need Sabbath and Slowing!

We live in a busy world and distraction is normal, which can so easily damage our relationship with God, as we take Sabbath and Slow down it helps us to be with and focus on God.

My fellow Portlander and dear friend A. J. Swoboda wrote this:

“[The Sabbath] has largely been forgotten by the church, which has uncritically mimicked the rhythms of the industrial and success-obsessed West. The result? Our road-weary, exhausted churches have largely failed to integrate Sabbath into their lives as vital elements of Christian discipleship. It is not as though we do not love God—we love God deeply. We just do not know how to sit with God anymore. 

He continued: We have become perhaps the most emotionally exhausted, psychologically overworked, spiritually malnourished people in history.” 

I would argue that twenty-first-century Americans (and, yes, to all my friends in the UK and Australia and Iceland, you too …) need to hear the first half of that command: “The Sabbath was made for man.” It was created, designed, by God himself. And it’s “for” us. A gift to enjoy from the Creator to the creation. To gratefully receive. (John Mark Comer in ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’)

God took Sabbath Seriously

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

God Blessed the 7th day. This was the third blessing in Genesis, the animals, human kind and now a day. 

God made the 7th day Holy. Set it apart as dedicated to Him.

Exodus 31:17 tells us God rested and was refreshed

God told us to take Sabbath

God demonstrated the benefit for rest then he told us to do it.

Remember the Sabbath

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

As we remember Sabbath, we remember God’s work of creation, His power, majesty, control, imagination, desire for his creation and blessings on all life. 

Then later God tells us to observe or keep the Sabbath. 

Deuteronomy 5:12 “Observe (KEEP) the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

We observe Sabbath because of God’s work of salvation, for Israel it was from slavery in Egypt to the rest of the promised land. As Christians for us it is from slavery to sin and disobedience, to the wonder of kingdom living as adopted children of God through the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. 

The danger for us is simple. If we don’t Sabbath there is the possibility we will forget, like we see time and again with the children of Israel, they ignored the Sabbath and strayed from God.

Sabbath is Important

Exodus 31:12 And the LORD said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you.

Sabbath is the anchor discipline of the people of God. So crucial that God lovingly commands us to remember to rest. (John Mark Comer in ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’)

Jesus told us Sabbath is good for us

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

Let us make the most of a Sundays

The Sabbath is to be a day of blessing, rest and dedicated to God.

In the Bible Sabbath can also mean joy and celebration. Imagine the joy God experienced as he rested and experienced his creation. As we Sabbath we enjoy God.

On Sabbath we can worship, eat, walk, pray and be together.

As we Sabbath we can focus on the blessings God has given us, family, church family and friends, seeking to grow these relationships and thank God for them.

Let what we do as we take time to Sabbath turn our attention to God.

“Pray and Play” (Eugene Peterson)

“Rest and Worship” (John Mark Comer)

Because the Sabbath isn’t just a twenty-four-hour time slot in your weekly schedule; it’s a spirit of restfulness that goes with you throughout your week. A way of living with “ease, gratitude, appreciation, peace and prayer.” A way of working from rest, not for rest, with nothing to prove. A way of bearing fruit from abiding, not ambition.
As Brueggemann said so eloquently: People who keep Sabbath live all seven days differently.
(John Mark Comer in ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’)

Sabbath is a blessings from God and has the power to change our lives as we experience it.

Apply

Prayerfully read through these verses from Isaiah:

Isaiah 58:13 “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 honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 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.

As God’s people we need Sabbath!” Do you agree with this Statement? If so how can you embrace God’s gift of Sabbath.

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s