I think I've mentioned to you before that Sarah Smith and I have been going through the old testament (very slowly). I think we have been on Leviticus since I moved to Texas which was like six months ago. But anyway, It's really been SO good for me, and I think Sarah would say the same thing as well. We are using a Kay Arthur inductive study, and I really encourage you to do it if you haven't before... guys or girls. It's so helpful and really easy to do!
So this mornings read was really easy. Leviticus 23:1-3
1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2"Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts. "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.
Ok, so just stop there. It's pretty easy to understand what this text is saying. The Isrealites are being commanded to have a Sabbath. Who is commanding this? The Lord. Let's read a little bit more...
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
God had a Sabbath. It was obviously really important that even He Himself rested. He worked really hard six days of the week, but was sure to take a break one day. Let's read a little bit more...
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
And the LORD said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, 'Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'"
So, this was obviously something that was really important to the Lord. For the Israelites, if they didn't keep the Sabbath, they were put to death. Why? God knew that they needed to be working really hard six days of the week, but needed one day of refreshment. God needed refreshment. Why don't we think we need refreshment?
I don't know about you, but I don't really have a Sabbath. This is something I have been thinking about a lot and this morning it was SO good for me to read this. What does this mean to you? Do you think it still applies to us today?
I definitely think it does. All through Leviticus God is establishing ordinances for the Israelites to follow. Not just to have rules, but to set them apart as holy. He wanted them to have abundant living. And God knew that in order for them to be as effective as possible, they needed a Sabbath. Just like God did.
So I guess the question in... do you have a Sabbath? What does a Sabbath look like in the 21st century?
For me, I feel like my Sabbath needs to be on Sundays. I work a lot during the week and even weekends, which some of you can relate to. I have had numerous people speak into my life and try and help me take some time off, especially when we have events on the weekends. So, what I feel like God is speaking to me, is that I need to "de-plug" from the world on Sundays. No email. And no email for me means that I don't even need to be on the computer at all. It means no working at home or filling orders from the website or making phone calls. No twitter. None of that. It DOES mean that I go to church, enjoy good fellowship, go sit at a coffee shop during the day and just read and reflect on the week.
Honestly, it sounds really hard for some reason. But I want to do it. God tells me that He is going to bless it and make it holy. I need rest. I need "refreshment" as God says in Exodus 31. Do you have a Sabbath?