Saturday, April 29, 2017
As the rainbow in the sky is a sign first given to Noah and those who floated with him, so is Sabbath keeping a sign from God of "a perpetual covenant." (Exodus 31:16) When we ignore or abuse the Sabbath and make it just another day, then we have chosen to take lightly something put in place by the God who created us. Sabbath rest was not an option for those Hebrews who first learned about it from Moses, but a commandment of God to be kept under the threat of death or expulsion from the community. Our contemporary attitude toward keeping Sabbath is far, far away from what was intended in the beginning.
Ours is, of course, an attitude of "anything goes." For most folks it is just another day. And for many Christians it just means going to worship and then doing whatever it is that is out there to do. I can even remember a time when I was a teenager that attending church twice on Sunday granted permission to date after evening worship. There is not a whole lot of Sabbath keeping with that kind of motivation. It is also true that many of our Sunday practices and habits which we think of as fulfilling the commandment to observe Sabbath have at their core all the wrong motivations. Many times we do what we do not to please God, but to pacify ourselves.
When God put Sabbath rest on the table it was a way of doing something special. In Deuteronomy 31:13 the Word says, "You shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you." To understand Sabbath rest is to know that through it God sets us apart for sacred purposes in the world. We are not just moving through this life from conception to death without any purpose, but God desires for us to make a difference in the work of the Kingdom. As we faithfully practice Sabbath rest, we put ourselves in position to know how it is that God is at work in our lives.