SLD Blog

The Gift of the Sabbath

GiftIsaiah 58 is a foundation statement to modern Christians as we move into a brave new era. The NRSV titles the section “False and True Worship”. The Lord tells the people that their spiritual disciplines are not true spiritual disciplines, but are rather self-centered practices that strike the pose of worship. The “fast” that the Lord chooses is one of justice for the poor, letting the oppressed go free, bringing the homeless into our homes, sharing our bread with the hungry. When we act as the Lord chooses, we will be “like a watered garden” (Isaiah 58:11), restored and nourished. We do the Lord’s work and, in doing so, we receive. We are cared for, fed, and well-watered. It is in this context the Sabbath is addressed. “If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isa 58:13-14 NSRV) Or from Eugene Peterson in The Message: “If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage; if you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all. I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.” Yes! God says so!

If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage; if you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all. I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob. Isaiah 58:13-14

Again Susan Phillips says, “It is not only that Sabbath keeping is commanded, nor that it is a habit of highly effective people or devoutly religious people. It cultivates our bond with God who loves us and asks us, perhaps not totally unlike Diana Ross and the Supremes to “Stop in the Name of Love”. Or from the Book of Habakkuk 2:20 (Moultrie translation), “Let all flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand; ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessings in His hand; Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.

 

Written by Major Raphael Jackson, Divisional Commander, Northern New England

 

For more in the Sabbath Series click here.

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