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God's 4th Commandment: The Importance of the Gift of Sabbath Rest


Most of us contend with more noise than necessary, a rushed life style, and far too many demands pulling on our lives.  In other words, we live somewhat fractured lifestyles.  Sadly, many have come to see this as "the norm" for their lives.


Upon examining God's gift of "Sabbath," it is easy to deduct that a life of hurry and scurry from one thing to the next, without resting inbetween, was not our Creator God's intent. The Sabbath commandment was a way of protecting "all of creation" from the abuse that can stem from neglecting the natural needs of body, mind, and spirit. Sabbath rest was not given to enslave us to a particular day of worship, but given as an avenue to ensure that we take time to step back from our busyness, observe and give thanks to God on a regular basis. 


Long before God gave Moses the 10 Commandments on
Mt.
Sinai
, the Children of Israel needed something to help them understand the importance of regular rest, renewal and revival.  Even more important than physical renewal was the need for each person to respond to their inner longing to worship God and commune with their creator. 


God's laws were never meant to hurt or control us, but given as a parent might give to protect a beloved child. The 10 Commandments God gave to Moses to share with the people, are just as important today as they were then. We need regular times of Sabbath rest. God knew it then, and God knows it now!


When we neglect participating in a regular times apart with God, we need not be surprised if we find ourselves experiencing some of these symptoms: exhaustion, stress, unhealthy focusing upon oneself or others, overwhelming stress related to a job or another situation, depression, worry, anger, nervousness, etc.  These are just a few of the unhealthy responses that might be associated with ignoring God's invitation to, "Come, let us go to a lonely place." 


Be it Saturday or Sunday, many believers try to set aside at least an hour or two to attend church or synagogue.  Some even attend two, or three, services within the week's time.  While this is a wonderful way to come together with other like minded believers to worship God and encourage one other, this is simply not enough for most of people! 


Sadly, even these few precious hours of corporate worship seem to be experiencing a steady decline in church goers for many congregations. Even where church attendance is still thriving, these times of worship are often filled with a sense of rushing from one service to another. Seldom are the edges of the Sabbath guarded and protected as was originally intended. 


Jesus did not come to do away with the law; instead, he told us that he came to fulfill the law.  He went on to say that all the commandments can be summed up in three categories that deal with loving God, loving others and loving ourselves. The fourth commandment, dealing with the Sabbath, is not exempt from falling into these "love categories."


Neither are you and I exempt from embracing times of Sabbath rest that our minds, bodies, and spirits so desperately need.  In fact, we cannot properly love God, others, or even ourselves if we do not give attention to the needs of every aspect of who God created us to be.


Prayerfully consider creating your own personal quiet space…one that will have a particular life focus for you, or possibly for your family as well.  Choose a location in your yard, home, or a location close enough to get to within 2-3 minute's time. 


Dedicate this spot to the Lord, and determine in your heart to steal away for a few glorious moments each day.  If possible, do this at the beginning of your day.  Bask, in the Holy presence of the One who longs for your undivided attention, ask the Holy Spirit for strength to keep this commitment each day.


As you give your whole self to intimate times of regular Sabbath rest, (be it a few minutes or a few hours each day) you will be amazed at what awaits you.


Here are just a few of the wonderful blessings God longs to give you:


  • Sstrength for the day(s) ahead

  • Peace in the midst of turmoil

  • Direction for confusing paths and changes to help you live a life of love

  • New insights you may never have dreamed or thought of before

  • A assurance of his deep love for you

  • Constant reminders of the special person you are


(I hope you will be looking for the second part of this article that will be entitled: HOW YOU MIGHT SET UP A PERSONAL QUIET SPACE)

Comments

  • Roberta Baxter Eugene,OR. Dogs Ex. 4 years ago

    Taking proper time for worship is doing God's plan. Thank you for a cheerful, comforting and well shared article.

  • Bill 4 years ago

    Nice article. For myself, I've discovered that the OT 4th commandment - like all of the Law - points me to Christ, our true Rest. He, in love for me, sent His Spirit to dwell in me. Now, rather than living by law to rest, as I walk in the Spirit, God paces my every day. Thus I not only find in Christ 'rest' from worry (grace), but a healthier daily life lived as He guides each day.