“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 58: 13-14)
The meaning of the Sabbath is not a matter of keeping a certain day, but rather setting aside time so that we can focus on God. The Sabbath is waiting upon God. There are two contexts of Sabbath:
- Selah (Sabbath in the micro context)
Sabbath does not necessarily mean that we do nothing or stop from all activities. Sabbath is Selah, which is to pause for a while and choose useful activities to prepare us to be more refreshed when we return to our busy life.
- Jubilee (Sabbath in a macro context)
Another Sabbath is the Year of Jubilee, which takes place every 49 years where land, animals, laborers, taxes, and all things are rested so that they can be enjoyed. On the Sabbath, do things that are out of the ordinary, things that are often overlooked in the midst of busyness. Sabbath is an opportunity to have quality time with family. We should enjoy it while we can!
When prophet Isaiah taught that we sould honor the Sabbath, it is all for our good. Ironically, both Selah and Jubilee are always violated by people in all ages because of greed. The human heart is always in a hurry, who knows why. That is why, contemplate the meaning of the Sabbath so that we know what we are pursuing in the right order of priorities.
1. God's creation and we are only managers.
The Sabbath is not only friendly to humans, but also to the environment and the universe. Remember that our body is also God's creation; and as the manager of this body, do not continually force yourself to become ill or depressed. If ever pain comes or another interruption occurs, maybe God is "forcing" our bodies and minds to take a break so we can live longer and happier.
2. God's will and we must find it.
Sometimes the best designs from God can only be found after we learn to wait patiently. The Sabbath can happen voluntarily or "forced". The important thing here is that we finally understand why God allows that to happen. In the midst of a world that is always noisy and everything is rolling so fast, God established the Sabbath so that people may pause from time to time to find God's will first.
There are two Sabbath activities:
Sabbath is the Lord's day. Take the time to be in fellowship with God and His Word longer and more often. Gratitude increases in the hearts of people who like to worship. It is no surprise that after the Sabbath we will appreciate even the smallest matters. The Sabbath does increase the enjoyment of life in God!
Sabbath is family day. Use the time to help your wife, to play with your children, and to help others in need. Focus on other people, and don't be busy by yourself; focus on people, and not on business and material things. The Sabbath indeed increases relationship enjoyment!
3. Sabbath is the most fertile season to sow.
Blessed are those who invest in relationships. It is precisely at this crucial moment in this world, people will realize that money cannot buy everything. There is a currency that is higher than worldly money, namely relations and connections. Let us help one another and share blessings, because the hard time in the world is the most fertile season to sow goodness for others.
Then what does the Lord provide after the Sabbath? There is a harvest after the Sabbath. There are certain blessings that we will receive not as a result of our effort. "Heritage" or "Inheritance", for example, is not something that can be attempted or traded. God has kept certain blessings, which are reserved only for those who have sown to others in difficult times. Develop your capacity, strengthen relationships with God and others. Use the Sabbath moments to prepare yourself as well as you can, so that when promotions come, there will be no remorse in your heart; there will only be shouts of joy and victory!
The Sabbath is a golden opportunity to sow. Keep the Sabbath holy to build intimacy with God and share blessings with others. Believe that the God of the harvest is waiting, as soon as this Sabbath passes!
Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa’s sermon