The Sabbath

The Gift of the Sabbath

Years ago my family moved to the Portland Oregon area for a year.  It happened that December brought one of the biggest snowstorms on record. I remember waking up to the snow drifts in the backyard, looking out my upstairs bedroom window to a winter wonderland. The driveway was covered in the white magic. We piled on the layers of clothes to stay warm and went outside to play in the snow. That didn’t take long and we were back inside. My siblings and I played games. We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great day. Such a wonderful gift, a gift of a day.  We could have filled it whatever we wished.

God gives us a gift of a day and He calls it a Sabbath. It’s a day to rest, replenish, delight in the Lord. There seems to be a great difference in opinions of what keeping the Sabbath means. Some take it to mean in a very legalistic way, what you can and can’t do on that day. While others have very little regard for observing it at all.   In Genesis 1 the story of creation unfolds, on the sixth day after God had finished, He saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  In chapter 2 it says God rested on the seventh day. He sanctified it and blessed it. So in the very beginning God made the Sabbath day a gift to us.

In Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. It goes on to say we are not to work.  Deuteronomy 5:15b Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. It is one of the Ten Commandments. If you think about it, most of us keep the other commandments, we don’t murder, lie, etc. Why would we think God changed His mind about the Sabbath? Jesus didn’t do away with it but said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Should we refuse the gift given?

To keep the Sabbath will take some planning and preparation. For instance, we might need to rearrange our schedule. Laundry, shopping and errand might need to be done before hand. There is the physical preparation but there is also heart preparation. It may consist of submission, humbling, trusting, and acknowledging He’s God and I’m not. All of these thing might need to be attended to be able to receive the gift.

What does keeping the Sabbath look like? It is as varying as we are individuals, but here are some things it should contain.  Worship of God. After God was finished with creation He looked on it and proclaimed it was good. He took pleasure in what He had made and so should we. Worship is not to be confined to four walls but look around you at what God has made and worship Him. Marvel at His creation. Meditate on the goodness of the Lord.

Rest. No busyness. No hurriedness. Maybe take a nap, read a good book but rest.

Enjoy the presence of the Lord. Find joy. Maybe even play or dance.

Psalms 37:4 says Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Delight in this context  means to be dependent upon God and to derive one’s pleasure from Him. So this scripture is saying if we will delight in the Lord our desires will be for Him. He will give us Himself.

What does keeping the Sabbath look like for you?

I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or email at

Rev. Denise Much

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