Worship, Rest, and the Sabbath

jriddleSeptember, 2013, – Rev. Julian Riddle – I remember when I was a child, living at home, how serious my Dad took Sunday and obedience to honor the Lord’s day. He would not allow us to spend any money, work, or even go off with friends for activities.  I wasn’t sure where he developed such a deep theology about the importance of the Sabbath and he never really explained it to me, but I knew he felt strongly about it.  I did grow up with a deep respect for the Lord’s Day, but I’m not sure it was like my Dad’s.  I recently started a study of the book of Exodus.  In Chapter 20 I was again drawn to the Lord’s emphasis on the Sabbath through the commands he gave to Moses and the people.  It had been three months since leaving Egypt and God had brought the whole assembly together, reminding them not to get too close to the mountain or they would die.  He was to speak to Moses and the people would hear His voice and know that He was the one to be feared and obeyed.  This was the time during which the Ten Commandments were given.  Commandment number four reads:  “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy”.  I began to meditate on this and to think of my dad.  Some of my immediate thoughts were:

  • It is the only command that begins with the word “remember”.  Could that mean we might have some trouble with forgetting?  Likewise, it is extremely important that our Lord says ” be sure you don’t”!
  • The word “holy” refers to the importance of this day being set apart.  We are the ones to set this day apart and for a purpose.
  • The emphasis on not working was strong.  The Lord mentions that neither you, your children, your servants nor your animals shall work on this day.  Rest was to be a priority.
  • The final word was that this day was to be a “Sabbath for The Lord your God.”  He reminds the nation that the six other days are yours to work and do what needs to be done, but this day is to be different.  It was a day to worship the One who had called and delivered them.

I could only wonder about how far we had drifted in our culture from this commandment.  I’m not being legalistic, but should we not all stop and ask ourselves what we really should be doing with this time?  I encourage you do so because I find that the culture we live will rob us of everything that we do not “remember” to hold onto.  If not careful, Sunday becomes simply an extra Saturday and the two keys of rest and worship are simply gone.

Rest and worship are the two things my soul cries out for.  When I forget and I really don’t give these two things to my God as an offering of thankfulness, I get tired and spiritually cranky and life is just out of order. Could I encourage you to join me in committing yourself and your family to a Sabbath of rest and worship? What will you do differently to let your kids know that you believe this day is different?  Be creative.  It may be as simple as holding hands at lunch and letting them pray.  Remember this day was created for you to enjoy in rest and worship. Include them in your day and enjoy your church family and your everyday family. Dad, thanks for the lesson.  I think you were so much smarter than I realized! If you are like me and you work on Sunday, simply be sure to find a day or some time to use as a Sabbath to rest and worship.  Our souls need it just like our body needs food.  They both will dry up without it.

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