“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, … then you will find your joy in the Lord.…………” Isaiah 58:13-14
What does it mean to keep the Sabbath holy in today’s culture? We know that this creation ordinance is the 4th of the Ten Commandments. Throughout the ages, God’s people have seen the wisdom in devoting one full day to rest and praise. Keeping the Sabbath holy is what God desires and it honors our Creator who also rested on the seventh day. (Genesis 2:3) This day refreshes us both spiritually and physically and helps us set our priorities.
In the old days, honoring the Sabbath was easier. It is more difficult in today’s culture. Our society places much emphasis on busyness and productivity; so, observing the Sabbath is countercultural. Isaiah 58:13-14 tells us that… “if you honor the Sabbath by not going your own way and not doing as you please, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and He will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” That is God’s promise for the Sabbath.
The key to Sabbath isn't merely rest. Rather, in our rest, we are to turn our attention to God, whose rest our Sabbath mirrors. Brothers and Sisters, can we set apart one day a week truly given over to rest and worship? We should not involve ourselves in doing what we normally do during the week. This is the day to be about God's ways! We rest from doing our ways and devote this time to God's business of eternal life. The Sabbath gives you extra time to study and meditate about God's Word and His principles. We should refrain from engaging in our own pleasures which includes our time-consuming hobbies, leisure time, and extra-curricular activities. Instead, we are to engage in God’s pleasure on the Sabbath. But, what is God’s pleasure? It is His creation — planning, working, and building for the future of eternity! Rev. 4:11 says, “... for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created"
So, dear brothers and sisters, let us “be free to enjoy God on the Sabbath” (Isaiah 58:14a MSG) and find a true sense of Shabbat shalom, Sabbath peace. Let us gather together as a worshiping community of faith and enter into glad gratitude remembering all the gifts of God, reminding each other of God’s redeeming presence in each of our lives. Rest and worship – one day a week anchor a way of life that makes a difference every day and helps maintain a balance crucial to an abundant life. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) Recognize that the Sabbath is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind –a gift for rest, peace, knowledge, and true delight. Remember to keep it holy!