Choosing the Sabbath – Exodus 31:13-17

“Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths,
for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations,
that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.
You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you…
It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel
that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth,
and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”

Exodus 31:13b-14a, 17

Above all. Placing major importance here. After the intricate details of the Tabernacle, the altars, the ark of the covenant, the lampstand, etc., the Lord emphasizes the Sabbath as a significant priority.

A day holy to the Lord.

A day for refreshment.

A day made for man. For our good. For the refreshment of our mind, body, and spirit. For the strengthening of our relationship with God through this exercise of faith.

Because it is faith to stop striving. Faith to trust God to fill in the gaps.

It isn’t about being legalistic and setting up a bunch of rules. That’s where the religious leaders in Jesus’ day missed the mark.

This is about trusting God in choosing to set aside times to be refreshed. To stop our striving and rest in Him.

I’ve heard the Sabbath described in different ways. A specific day, moments throughout your week – I won’t presume to tell you what your Sabbath should look like.

I just know how God has been stirring my heart for mine recently, so the timing of this passage is notable for me.

I encourage you to seek His face for what your Sabbath needs to be. For your good. For your refreshment. For your strengthening. For your relationship with God and with others. It might not look like what other people tell you it “should” be. And that’s okay. This is about you and God, your time set aside for Him. Time made for you. Because Jesus showed us that is the heart behind the command (Mark 2:27).

The Sabbath wasn’t meant to bring us guilt. It was meant to bring a lightening of your load and rest for your soul. So if you find it adding to your burden, know that God understands, and He is here to listen and to guide with compassion and wisdom. He can show you what’s broken, and he can show you how to mend it. He will guide you to make your Sabbath what He desires it to be for you, so you can experience abundant life in Him as it is meant to be.

“And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly,
then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth”
Isaiah 58:11-14a

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