2 Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.Exodus 35:2 ESV
God took the Sabbath pretty seriously. It has gradually gone out of style over the years. There is lots of (mostly self-motivated) debate around the Sabbath. Does it now mean on Sunday instead of Saturday? Does this law apply to us since we live under grace? Does this apply to modern day since it was not repeated in the New Testament? How do pastors and other church staff take a Sabbath when they have to work then? Can I participate in sports on Sunday? And so on.
I’m going to intentionally, admittedly side-step this debate and settle on one fact I think we can all agree on — we all need rest. We need time set apart from the crazy activities of the rest of the week to refresh and worship. We need to just stop, at least once a week and just be.
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;Psalm 26:11,12 ESV
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.
Even if I have daily devotional time with Jesus, I still need that time each week to gather with other believers and worship, learn through others’ teaching of Scriptures, realign my week with God’s agenda, let Him level the path ahead.
Many things drive us from setting aside time to worship and be with other Christians — exhaustion, laziness, lack of transparency, scheduling conflicts, transportation troubles, viruses, illness, fear, judgment, guilt, depression, conflict, confusion, and more.
God doesn’t give a lot of latitude here. I need to be there. Stop the physical and mental chaos that sometimes ravages my days and get myself to church. Stepping away from everything else in my life, before God, with other believers, blessing the Lord, every week.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.Philippians 4:21 ESV
As I bring my weekly life plan into sync with God’s glory, the blessings of Philippians 4 open up before me.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. . . The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. . . the God of peace will be with you.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.Philippians 4:4-23 excerpts ESV
It takes serious discipline to get everyone up and out the door on Sunday morning. It takes profound trust to take a day off my to-do list. It takes some sacrifice to say “no” to some opportunities to preserve the rest and worship my body and soul need. I don’t always succeed, but I am reminded again today of the power of rest and the importance of God-above-all priorities.
Lord, help me to keep You first. First in my day, first in my week, first in my plans. I want to trust You with everything. Trust that six days is enough to accomplish everything You have for me. Grow my faith to walk this path of surrender more consistently. Show me clearly what Sabbath-rest looks like in my world. Thank you for the beautiful promises that come when we live recklessly for You. In Jesus name, Amen.