Sabbath: Resting in Faith
The Ten Commandments were written to former slaves that had been miraculously delivered from Egypt and included the fourth command to “remember the sabbath” Exodus 20:8-11. They had worked as slaves seven days a week, with no rest—a constant fear-driven work. While we are not slaves to earthly mastered today, we can be subject to a similar motivation fear. The fear of lack, of missing out, and of a life of insignificance can be powerful taskmasters. According to the writer of Hebrews, there is a parallel between the life of the people of God in Exodus and our lives today. Fear vs. faith was the issue for them, and it is the issue for us as well.
Sabbath living is faithful obedience and begins with a renewed mind that manifests in living while resting in faith.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. – Hebrews 4:1–3
The Israelites of Exodus did not believe God, so they disobeyed and could not enter into the rest He had for them. For the people of God in every age, disobedience is always a lack of faith. When we are disobedient, we have placed our faith, hope, and trust in something other than Jesus. Finding our rest (Sabbath) in God requires faith in Christ and a renewal of our minds.
According to Hebrews Faith in the “good news,” or gospel, about Jesus Christ is the key and is manifested in three ways;
1) Internally – through faith, we have a sabbath peace that restores our relationship with the father and heals our brokenness.
2) Externally – through faith, we live a redeemed life reflected in rest and recovery rather than striving and stress.
3) Eternally – through faith, today, we experience a preview of the eternal peace we have to look forward to.
It all begins with faith that provides internal sabbath rest. That said, this can be a challenging point of obedience since our culture drives us to a near-manic activity level and resists the rest that faith in Jesus brings.
That said, there are some simple, practical ways that we can insert rest into our lives.
A Guide to Sabbath living:
An anointed (God-powered) “no”
There are times when we need to say no to a good thing so we can say “yes” to a better thing. Knowing the difference requires following the leading of the Holy Spirit and resting in the Lord’s provision.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38- 42
Intentional Times of Rest
Rest doesn’t come naturally in our culture. Being still is an act of faith-filled obedience that takes intentional living and, in many cases, dedicated calendaring, so make the time to “Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10
Jesus’ invitation always requires an intentional choice on our part
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
Ask, “In light of eternity, is it wise?
There are a great many things that are permissible, but we ought to ask if they are profitable as well. Ensuring that we are making the most of the time we have requires careful reflection on what the will of the Lord is.
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Eph 5:15-17
Intentional, intimate time with God
As with any relationship, our relationship with God requires time and proximity. That said, time with God must take priority over all others because he is the source of life, so …seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When we seek Him first, we are promised to be led to fruitful sabbath rest
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11