8 Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. 9 Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals, or the immigrant who is living with you. 11 Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
I’ve been talking to people about their daily lives during the pandemic. What I hear over & over is that they are busier now than before their lives were disrupted by the pandemic. Our homes have been turned into schools and offices while we’ve had to learn new ways to stay connected. Now we are super-connected by technologies that make it possible to be available to work 24/7! We are juggling working 12-hour shifts, parenting babies and children, providing care for aging family members, pastoring churches, spending hours taking classes or applying online for unemployment. There’s just not much time for rest. Even when we try to rest, our minds are constantly thinking about how to live safely. We’re so busy, who has time for the Sabbath?
God knows us so well. Busy people neglect relationships. We’re so busy we put off whatever we can for ‘later,’ and usually that means our relationships. That’s why God tells us to “remember the Sabbath and treat it as holy.” The Sabbath is about our relationship with God. Seeking Sabbath is time spent seeking God. We find our rest in God. The Sabbath is a holy space, a place of rest, a time to acknowledge that the most Holy God, is OUR God, and to worship accordingly.
God modeled the Sabbath for us by working six days, then resting on the seventh. By following God’s commandment, we receive the rest we would not have taken for ourselves. God made no exceptions in commanding the people of Israel, their animals, and even non-Jewish immigrants living under their roofs to rest and observe the Sabbath. By observing the Sabbath as a holy day, the nation of Israel remembered their deliverance from Egypt by God, and by resting every seven days they bore powerful witness to the living God in a world of idol worshippers.
As followers of Jesus, we celebrate the Sabbath as a holy day – a day we rest, remember, and give thanks for our deliverance from sin and death through the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As children of God, we worship each Sunday, and by this, bear witness to the reality of God’s saving love. Each Sunday we rest and worship God by remembering all that God has done for us during the week. We seek God’s forgiveness and give God our praise and thanksgiving. We receive the blessings of true rest in God through God’s presence, provision, healing, and peace.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
We don’t have to wait until Sunday to experience the rest that comes from observing the Sabbath. We can seek Jesus whenever life feels overwhelming. Because Jesus is “the Lord of the Sabbath” ( Mark 2:27), he is our place of rest. He says to us, “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Take this moment now to pause from your busy life, to rest seek Jesus. This coming Sunday, rest and remember what God has done for you.
Prayer: God, you are Holy! You have given us a resting place – your Sabbath – so that we can find our rest in you. Help us always to remember all that you have done for us through the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.