The Gift of the Sabbath: On Taking Time to Rest in God

I’m a busy person, you’re a busy person, we’re all busy people. We all seem to have an endless to-do list, and countless commitments. If it isn’t schoolwork or actual work, it’s chores, clubs, organizations, or other commitments. Our days tend to be pretty packed.

It might be crazy to suggest that we take a chunk of time out of our day to simply rest and be with the Lord. It might be even crazier to suggest that we dedicate an entire day of the week to doing just that and nothing else.

But that’s exactly what God told the Israelites to do in Exodus 16.

He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”

Exodus 16:23 (NLT)

Crazy, right? I don’t about you, but I have something to do every day of the week. I don’t see it as possible for me to set aside an entire day for rest, scrubbing it free of all work and commitments other than those of the Lord.

In our society we focus on doing, doing, doing, feeling accomplished by how much we can do and feeling a constant desire to do more. We live in a very noisy and distracting place, guys.

But God is pulling us out of all the hustle and bustle of everyday, crazy busy life, and whispering to us, “Shh. Let all that go. Just rest and be with Me.”

He’s not doing that to keep us from doing all the great things we’re trying to do. He’s not trying to stress us out even more by making us do more the other six days of the week. He’s not out to get us.

No. The Sabbath day is a gift.

They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you…

Exodus 16:29 (NLT)

It is a gift because what can possibly be better than dedicated time to doing nothing but resting in Him? Surely not that homework assignment or that test we just have to study for.

Psalms 23 and 63 are excellent reminders of the joys of resting in God’s presence. I highly encourage you to go and read those, even if you’ve read them before. I find that they’re a constant reminder of the joy of God’s presence.

It is far too easy for us to lose sight of God in the craziness of our lives. We forget about Him, get stressed about everything that seems to be piling up, and next thing we know, we’re anxious, despairing, and lost.

But God is still whispering to us. He wants us to come to Him. 

We cannot find joy and peace apart from God. Because we were created for Him and by Him, we cannot be satisfied apart from Him. Our worldly pursuits, our material things, that fun thing we just really want to buy or go do, cannot and will not satisfy us. If anything, they’ll simply leave us wanting more.

But God can fill that hole. In fact, He’s pleading with us to let Him do just that.

So why do we constantly refuse to give Him the time that He deserves and that is so life-giving to us? Is it because He feels distant and unknowable? Is it because we don’t think our time with Him is urgent (it is – for more on that, see this post)? Is it because we believe lies about what can satisfy us?

Whatever the reason, I challenge you to examine your heart and determine what’s holding you back from spending dedicated and restful time with God. And then join me in reminding yourself daily to set aside time to return to Him.

Our souls will be all the more joyful for it.

 

 

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