New International Version (NIV)
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
If we read on through the many passages about the Sabbath, it is also stated that the one who ignores this command should be put to death. Don’t shoot me; I am just a messenger.
In my American culture, Sabbath is a loosely interpreted concept still greatly debated within the Christian community. Acknowledging the day (Saturday versus Sunday) as well as defining allowed activities divides the faithful. However, whatever camp we worship in, the consequence of ignoring Sabbath is almost universally experienced.
Being put to death, in the Old Testament, meant being put to death. Churches today have to dance around dealing with its member’s sins. Unfortunately, the definition of sin is also loosely interpreted from congregation to congregation, and the enforcement of church discipline is rarely enacted. In our politically correct society, murdering a church member for scrubbing their floor on a Sabbath would be implausible. As well as illegal…
Yet, we do suffer if the benefits of time of rest, reflection, and devotion are avoided. In our twenty four hour a day world that even runs on the weekends, the faithful do well to get to worship for a few hours on Sunday morning.
When I heard Beth Moore speak about a “Sabbath Moment”, my interest was piqued. Maybe, Lord, I could carve out tiny bits of time to do Sabbath. Perhaps I could learn to seek Him continually as I worked through my day, pausing to meet Him for each brief moment I could find in between tasks.
Eventually, I learned to do it. Seek the Lord all through the day. Speak to Him at every turn. Take every thought captive to Him and receive the mind of Christ. Acknowledge His nearness continually and confess His presence. Scripture memorization brought Him closer than ever.
Yet, life gets in the way. I have learned to accept this interference and sometimes plan for it. Wisdom teaches us to count the cost, lay a firm foundation, and prepare for that rainy day to come.
My Sabbath moment recently brought me a great sense of peace and joy. It was so short lived but significant.
The sky seemed especially beautiful that day. Temperate winds blew through my hair and joy I had not experienced in so long welled up in my heart; I felt like a kid again, just for a moment. Thank you, Lord, for this brief visit to peace. Communing with the Lord seemed almost euphoric.
Once I returned inside, my dog nabbed my lunch off the counter. He swallowed it so fast that he nearly obstructed his airway, ran into the living room, threw up on my Oriental carpet, and ran into the study vomiting all the way, and completed his discharge on the rug in there. Fortunately, I could pop it into the washer.
I dragged out the carpet shampooer, cleaned up the Oriental, ran the washer, and returned to the kitchen to dig through the refrigerator for something else to eat. Unfortunately, since I had been gone over the weekend, there was nothing to fix and what was left had turned into science projects. So, I had to clean out the frig, put the rug in the dryer, and take out the dog that whined to go back outside.
It had now been over an hour since my moment of ecstasy and I was hungrier than ever.
After a can of tuna, I concluded in agreement with Henry Blackaby, that God is always at work around us. My encounter with the God of the universe lasted a few brief moments and it was my choice to pause and experience it. The lack of time to enjoy Sabbath is not His fault, it is mine. His reminder to me made the whole event significant.
He is always there, offering the fellowship, if we will only pause and receive it. I should not be surprised to find Him nor should I be led astray by the stuff of life, like a dog that is a thief and led me down a detour of distraction.
Grab your moments. Underneath the layer of your trials and worries exists a secret place to steal away with the One who loves you most. By all means, be in church Sunday, share with a Sunday school group, and take a nap in the afternoon. But, don’t miss those Sabbath moments that will sustain you and affirm His love for you in between your next detour of life.