Sabbath-day Rest

Resting on the Sabbath day is not a topic often spoken about in church. Yet it is clear in Scripture – the fourth commandment given to Moses is: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8-11).

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There are many ways that keeping the Sabbath can become legalistic. First off, when is it recognized? Seventh-day Adventists cling to Saturday, like the Jews, as their Sabbath. For the most part, the Protestant and Catholic churches hold to Sunday as their “day of rest.”

Having written about how technology has tectonically affected us, I am well aware that this puts greater burden on the need to rest from our worldly pursuits. Although technology, generally-speaking, makes our lives “easier,” I find that it can also make us lazier, allowing us to wander astray, leaving faith-matters aside and neglecting the call of Christ on our lives.

Which is why I am intrigued by the idea of disconnecting from technology, like the Internet, in order to maximize the benefit that Sabbath rest offers us. There are no hard-and-fast rules here. Monks and nuns in the Middle Ages, after all, carried on scholarship in a time when the vast majority of people were not privy to such knowledge.

You see the Sabbath day is part of a cycle. Life itself is cyclical. A woman’s monthly period. The seasons. Planting and harvesting, or reaping and sowing. The triune God has instituted laws that govern the natural environment. In Exodus, the Israelites were commanded to let the land lie fallow every seven years so that it is allowed to rest. Further, the Jubilee year, which occurred cyclically on the 49th year, was a special time when debts were cancelled and slaves would be allowed to go free.

The necessary element to keep front of mind here is that Sabbath is for our benefit. The intention is to recall God’s faithfulness, our dependence on Him for provision, to anchor ourselves in His Word, being rejuvenated to face another week, with all of its attendant stresses, worries, anxieties and uncertainties.

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