And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me.
It was to remind them that I, the LORD, had set them apart to be holy,
making them my special people.
Ezekiel 20:12 NLT
A couple weeks back I wrote a post that attempted to unpack “Idolatry” in a modern context. I seriously love doing this because it challenges the mindset that the Bible doesn’t relate to today’s world. It does. It really, really does. Everything in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, reveals something about God and his timeless love for us. This week, God has put another seemingly “obsolete” term in my heart that is potentially more relevant now than ever!
Just saying it makes you feel like a church-ier person, right? We’ve heard it in reference to the 10 Commandments. The Fourth Commandment is all about the Sabbath, (Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”) but how does that look in our world today? Does it mean that we take off of work, close up shop and make sure we attend some kind of worship service? Maybe… but even more importantly that the “what” is the “why.” One of the Pastors I know gave a sermon once on this topic and I will never forget how he defined it. He defined Sabbath as a time to take a break from defining your identity by anything other than SAVED CHILD OF GOD.
When I did my reading in Ezekiel this week, I read something that confirmed this definition. God was explaining to Ezekiel why the Israelites were in trouble – the depth of their rebellion. Part of what they were rebelling against was the gift of Sabbath rest. Here’s how God defined that gift:
“And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I, the LORD, had set them apart to be holy, making them my special people.” Ezekiel 20:12 NLT
We are holy. We are set apart. We are GOD’S own special people! What an incredible status. In a world where we run rat-races, climb ladders, combat stereotypes and try not to throw stones or live in glass houses, when do we take time to simply BE HIS? This is so much more than just attending a weekly church service! When do we take the time to marvel at how deep and amazing a rest this is?!
The Creator of the Universe wants us as his own just as we are. Before we even knew what a track record was, we were his. If you are a parent, you know first-hand how deep the love is that you have for your children; no thing on earth could make you love them more. You love them simply because they are yours. We make time to simply snuggle them, hold them, and just BE with them. We don’t ask them to recite their preschool resume’ for us before we spend time with them.
And neither does God. Jesus took care of that once and for all with one single life and death transaction.
This week, I am going to be intentional about honoring the Sabbath. If you’d like to join me, here’s the plan:
Set aside FIVE MINUTES every day this week to simply meditate/think/daydream on the fact that the Creator of the Universe says that YOU ARE ENOUGH just as you are. He says YOU ARE LOVED just as you are. He says YOU ARE MADE NEW just as you are. He allows his own HOLY SPIRIT to live IN YOU.
Just. As. You. Are.
Dear Lord, I’m not sure I even know how to just “be yours” anymore – I spend so much of my days trying to improve, perfect, and plan that your Sabbath gift gets lost in my shuffle. It’s so much easier to understand that you love me IF I this or IF I that. Please change my thinking as I Sabbath in you this week. Give me a heart that longs to be in your presence as your holy, special child. Amen.