The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-6)
We focus on the Sabbath as a day for church. In the Jewish
tradition it’s a day to remember God’s goodness and deliverance from slavery. Christian’s
amend Jesus’ resurrection and our deliverance from death.
That’s certainly the “big picture” interpretation, but I had
lost sight of the Fourth Commandment and the Hebrew meaning of shabbat -
to cease or desist, the cessation of work. That's the root of Sabbath, a consistent Biblical theme.
God rested in in the creation story. Moses gave us the
Sabbath commandment. Jesus withdrew regularly for prayer and solitude. He went
so far as to point out that the Sabbath was made for man - God’s plan for weekly
rest and refreshment.
The Sabbath is more than a go-to-church day. It’s a time to
put work and responsibility on hold, a give-it-to-God day.
I was struggling with this as my recent vacation began. I had pledged not to
read my email for five days. The new term for this is digital detox, and I was having
difficulty placing work and responsibility on hold. On the 31st
Sabbath of the year, my Bible study presented Psalm 31. It’s a King David war prayer, but I was at war with myself. It seemed to apply:
Deadlines. Always deadlines. And decisions. And strategy.
Uncertainty. Risk. I need a Sabbath.
Since you are
my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Tension. Crucial conversations. Crucial confrontations. Egos. Arrogance. (Yes, it's a two-way street.) I need a Sabbath.
Keep me free from
the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
I feel like a circus
juggler about to drop a ball. Make that a fiery torch. Am I taking myself too seriously? I need a Sabbath.
Into your hands
I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. (v5)
away, Father. Leaving it in your hands. For your blessing of rest and refreshment.