When Michelangelo completed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel I’d like to think he took some time to look at it, that he lay on his back and took in the work he had taken four years to complete and just enjoy it.
To consider earth before it existed and then to consider God creating it is a difficult task – it’s mind-bending but it’s awe-inspiring in the same way.
Gen 2:1-2: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” This declared day of rest is known as the Sabbath and has been the subject of many religious debates.
For many, the idea of the Sabbath is only for specific religious groups, but the principle behind the Sabbath is a sound one. It is an opportunity to stop what we are doing, appreciate God’s grace and abundant blessing in our lives and do good. The Sabbath is not merely an excuse to lie on the couch and do nothing.
Jesus observed the Sabbath as a day of worship but His actions on the Sabbath angered many and confused most – how dare He ignore the rules of the Sabbath? Luke 13:14-15 “But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; so come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day’.” They were angry and Jesus was angered by their short-sightedness.
We often become so tied up in rules and regulations that we fail to see the why.
The Sabbath is all about God.
How many sunsets have you actually watched in the past month? How many moments have you spent sitting in the sunshine, with your eyes closed and praying? In this modern day, we have so many reasons to keep busy. Our to-do lists are so long they are unachievable, we have made multi-tasking a pre-requisite for daily life, we have books we want to read but never get around to and we are always tired.
God is not only giving you permission to rest – He is commanding it. So rest! The Sabbath is your weekly opportunity to reflect on your life, to assess your intentions and actions, to recalibrate your soul in line with God’s will for you. It’s your litmus test on your spiritual health. Check yourself, give thanks for all that is right in your life and contemplate how to correct the things that are wrong.
The word, “Sabbath”, originates from the Hebrew word “Shabbat” which means “to cease” or “desist”. It means STOP! If your employer said to you “You’ve worked really hard this past week, take Monday off to rest.” Would you say ‘no’ or would you thank him?
If your Creator said to you, “Six days work shall be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation (gathering) by summons. You shall do no work on that day; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” (Lev 23:3) Would you refuse or would you thank Him? In all things, we must remember the heart of the purpose – God wants you to be His best disciple and in order to be that we need to have the opportunity to regularly rest in His Word and grace. You see, it’s not all in a day’s rest…God is in a day’s rest!