Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I need a Sabbath!

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:

O Lord!

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.
(Psalm 31, v3)

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)

I’m stepping away, Father. Leaving it in your hands. For your blessing of rest and refreshment. A Sabbath.