It’s coming around again. An ending to a week that has just barely begun. I couldn’t have accurately forecasted its path seven days ago because chaotic living has become my norm. Most days spend as a blur, and by week’s end, exhaustion finds its bed within my weary frame.
I am tired, and I am in need.
My Father knows my requirement, and thus he gives me permission for a Sabbath pause—a gift of rest consecrated and set apart for my ceasing from the ordinary in order to partake of the extraordinary.
The problem is…
I rarely take him up on his gift. And tonight I ponder as to the probable cause of my denial.
The Israelites got caught up within the particulars of a Sabbath’s rest. Regulations and requisites ruled the day. And as so often the case, whenever the law of religion supersedes the grace of its faith, rest is rarely, if ever…found.
I am afraid we are not so far in our thinking and in our doing from that of our spiritual ancestors. We busy ourselves with the many details of a Sabbath observation. Church life requires it. We didn’t mean for it to be this way…to make Sundays a day of work rather than a day of rest. It is simply the nature of the beast that we have fed with our programs and perfections and providings.
Instead of entering into the gift of God’s rest, we exhaust ourselves by walking around it, coddling it with the promise of our return once the details have walked their course. Unfortunately, their steps are many and their pace is measured by the cadence of man’s intent rather than the consecration of God’s endowment.
We have made the Sabbath a difficult embrace. God has always meant for it to be our simple acceptance. And tonight I am wondering…
Meet the Robins’ family. They nest just down the street at Inie’s house, and they have much to teach us about a Sabbath pause, for they have perfected a consecrated rest.
A Sabbath rest is found in the hiding.
“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5).
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4).
A Sabbath rest is found in the sheltering with brothers and sisters.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25).
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47).
A Sabbath rest is found in the lifting up of heads.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2).
“But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.” (Psalm 3:3-4).
A Sabbath rest is found in the waiting.
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18).
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1).
A Sabbath rest is found in an open mouth.
“‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.’” (Psalm 81:10).
“The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” (Isaiah 50:4).
A Sabbath rest is found in the filling.
“Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:9).
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (John 6:35).
A Sabbath rest is found in an eventual launching.
“‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Hiding. Sheltering. Lifting. Waiting. Opening. Filling. Launching.
The posture of a Sabbath rest. Not requirements and regulations. Simply a lying down for a day so that a rising up for tomorrow can find its wings and take flight.
I am tired, friends, and I am in need. How about you? How long has it been since you have found your Sabbath’s rest? Would you allow the Robins, along with the Word of God, to be the compass that leads you there this weekend? Next week belongs to next. God’s Sabbath belongs to our today, and so I pray…
Take us there, Lord, to a place of rest and consecration underneath the shelter of your wings. Surround us with the care and comfort of your people as we rest. Lift our heads from our temporal and focus our eyes on your eternal. Teach us the patience of a sacred waiting. Feed us, Father, for we are hungry for your Word. Fill us, Jesus, for you alone can satisfy the craving of our souls. And when our rest is full and finished…complete and more than enough…breathe your breath to launch us into a world that needs to find its sacred pause. Amen.
PS: I want to hear about your Sabbath rest this weekend! If you’re like me, the summer promises to be a busy one. I want to invite you all back next week, when I hope to begin a new mini-Bible study called “Raising Faith.” Hope to. A well-intentioned thought and a big dream considering that I now have four underfoot for the summer! I’ll have to squeeze in posts when I can.
And for those of you who will be nesting in worship with me this Sabbath? You’re in for a big treat. There has been a wonderful P.S. to Billy’s sermon last week! You will be awed and stunned by the faithfulness of our great, big God. See you Sunday.
Copyright © May 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.