Day Five: Celebrating Redemptionby Kelly Minter
The Spiritual Discipline of Rest
The closest most of us come to taking a Sabbath is flying out the door to church on a Sunday morning, scrambling for our seats during the opening song, then frantically maneuvering out of the parking lot after the service to get back home to the casserole in the oven or to a restaurant to beat the brunch crowd. An afternoon soccer or baseball game later, and we find suppertime and bedtime are upon us with all the soon-to-be Monday morning emails and to-do’s accumulating before we even hit our pillows. With no heaps of guilt, I don’t think this is the Sabbath rest Moses helped establish, nor is it the one Jesus advocated for.
Read Exodus 20:1-17.
Sabbath-keeping in the Book of Exodus was rooted in God’s creation act in Genesis. Just as God rested from His work on the seventh day after having created the world, so He called His people to rest and celebrate Him and His creation on the Sabbath. But by the time we get to the account in Deuteronomy, Israel had wandered in the wilderness and was about to start anew in the promised land. Now the attention had been turned from Sabbath as creation celebration to Sabbath as redemption celebration.6 As I write these words, I so badly want to hear an amen! We have been created and redeemed by our Savior, and thank God that He graced us with one full day each week to celebrate so great a salvation.
God’s deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt hits close to home for me. He’s redeemed me not only for the life to come, but also from my life that was—seasons where I was a slave to myself, without hope. I often remember on Sunday mornings (the day of the week I observe a Sabbath) in my church service how the Lord brought me out of places of darkness with His “strong hand” and “outstretched arm” like He did the people of Israel from the bondage of Egypt.
I hope you’ll reflect on the ancient command and necessity of observing a weekly Sabbath. As we’ve seen today, if we merely think of it as a day to cease working Monday through Friday yet frantically moving from activity to activity or even lazily flipping from channel to channel, we will miss its divine and glorious purpose. We will miss the celebration of who God is and what He has done for us.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: How does remembering God’s redemption of you further encourage you to set aside the Sabbath and cease from your normal work? Be specific.