Some weeks, I don’t want the Sabbath.
I don’t want to stop. There’s too much to do, or else I’m in the middle of a project I’m excited about. Putting it all down, hitting pause for 24 hours—if I’m being honest, there are times when that thought is more frustrating than exciting.
But even then—even on the weeks when my human nature resents having to stop—I can’t think of a single week when I haven’t needed the Sabbath.
It’s a reset, hard-coded into the DNA of the world itself. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:3). Not just that first Sabbath day, but all Sabbath days, forever into the future.
A day to stop.
And not a day we can stop. A day we must stop.
More than that—a day we need to stop.
God knows when we need to stop. He made us, and then He made the Sabbath day for us (Mark 2:27). Can we physically survive working through one or two Sabbaths? Oh, absolutely. The majority of the world hasn’t stopped for a single Sabbath of their lives.
But we wouldn’t gain what we might expect from that. We wouldn’t end up with extra time. We’d lose important spiritual time instead.
The reset is a gift.
The week is ending; the creative work is on hold; we’re disconnecting from the world and strengthening our connection to the Creator of the world. The forced stop is a privilege we don’t deserve. Without it, we probably would keep working on whatever urgent project demanded our attention in that moment, repeating the process week after week, over and over, until…
Until what? Where does all that work ultimately get us?
Not to a place that matters in the context of eternity.
If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
The New International Commentary on the Old Testament has a great reflection on the beauty of this passage:
Here we cease our work and remind ourselves that it is God who supplies our needs, not we. Here we reorient the compasses of our spirits to the true north of God’s gracious character, remembering as we give one-seventh of our time to him and his concerns that all our time is his. For those who approach the Sabbath in this way, the day is a precious gift (the sense of ʿōneg, delight, v. 13). It is a special day, a holy one, to be guarded jealously, not because God will destroy us if we lift a pencil or throw a ball, but because here we have another chance to remind ourselves about what matters and what does not, about what passes away and what survives, about the fact that all we are and have is his, a gift freely given and freely to be returned to the Giver.
(John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66, p. 508–509)
What matters and what does not.
What passes away and what survives.
A gift, freely given from God to us.
Have a wonderful reset, family.
Until next time,