Drinking Deeply

Friday, June 23, 2006 at 9:33 PM

Keeping the Sabbath

Exodus 20:8
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
How do we apply this? Does it simply mean we don't do any work on Sunday? Spend the whole day at church fasting and praying instead? Don't go biking or running or do anything that requires a bit of physical exertion?

Isaiah 58 gives us an excellent picture. The context is that God (through Isaiah) is rebuking Israel for it's negligence of the Sabbath day. (v.13-14)
2Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
Israel was seeking God, was delighting to know God's ways. But they were doing it in a hypocritical way. As if they were a nation that did righteousness. No, God responds not only to the prayer, but to the entire person. As Proverbs 28:9 states:
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,even his prayer is an abomination.
3'Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?'
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Israel had turned away from hearing God's law and now they want to fast to regain God's favor? Yet even in the day they fast they're seeking their own pleasure. They oppress their workers.
4Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?
Israel! You're faking it. Does this please the Lord? No!
6"Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
God wants a day of rest, not only for you, but for your workers, for those who are oppressed. A day for feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the naked.
8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.'
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
That is what is honoring the Sabbath. That is a fast that pleases the Lord. And this is what will bring God to turn and shower down blessings upon you.
13"If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

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