Reclaiming the Loveliness of the Sabbath

What the Sabbath was, was meant to be, and is, is all quite astounding. Minimally it is a day of rest. Originally it was taken so seriously that a person would be stoned if they broke it (Numbers 15: 32-36). In addition, keeping the Sabbath is one of the ten commandments. Nowadays someone would be lucky if they found a pastor who understood what the Sabbath’s role in our life is suppose to be. I say that, sadly not out of exaggeration, but of experience. I hope my experience is in fact not that norm. I have only two moments when a pastor spoke about the Sabbath that are memorable. Once was a joke, “you think you haven’t broken the ten commandments, when is the last time you kept the Sabbath?” and “I like to watch t.v. on the Sabbath because that is restful to me, something else may be restful to you”. I love the two different people who spoke here, but I think they spoke ignorantly.

For a long time I had felt ignorant about the Sabbath and wondered how should the day really be spent. Something bothered me about watching t.v. on the Sabbath, but I wasn’t really sure why. I know I believe we are too caught up in entertainment and this is a real danger, but I didn’t think that meant a Christian could never watch t.v., so perhaps the Sabbath was the right day to do so.

As I was reading my bible a month ago a verse in Isaiah stood out and I felt like my eyes were opened for the first time. I now knew why God took the Sabbath so seriously in the Old Testament and I now was aware why it should still be practiced within a serious Christian devotion. Isaiah 58:13 reads, “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable: if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord” (ESV, Emphasis mine). What became clear is that, my pleasure and your pleasure, is not a true rest that God wanted. Instead, he wants us to find rest in Him. If anyone has ever taken significant alone time with God they know that when you come out you are renewed. Now, God wants us once a week to set aside are normal daily things and take time be in love with Him. This really shows a beauty of God, that He years for us so deeply that one day out of week must be for the two of you.

After I read this verse I took some time to look at what some Christian siblings have said regarding the Sabbath. In particular, I want to share the words of John Wesley

“Is it not God who giveth thee all thou hast? Every day thou livest, is it not his gift? And wilt thou give him none? Nay, wilt thou deny him what is his own already? He will not, he cannot, quit his claim. This day is God’s.”

” And spend as much as you can of the rest of the day, either in repeating what you have heard, or in reading the Scripture, or in private prayer, or talking of the things of God. Let his love be ever before your eyes. Let his praise be ever in your mouth. You have lived many years in folly and sin; now, live one day unto the Lord.”

“Spend this day as thou hopest to spend that day which never shall have an end.”

(All quotes are from A WORD TO A SABBATH-BREAKER by Wesley (1))

Ahh!!! What words of life! God has given us everything and six days to ourselves, shall not one be His? And in this day, let his love ever be before your eyes. Once His love is before our eyes, we can see that we can spend this day as a day without end. One could wonder what is significant about the Sabbath since God’s love should be ever before our eyes. Even though God’s love should ever be before our eyes and we should in fact rest in Him daily, the Sabbath’s importance remains. Every day you should love your wife, husband, or children, but even more important is to set aside time particularly for them. This not only confirms your love for them, but in fact kindles your own. Kindle your love for God likewise, and let the joy of the Lord be your strength.



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