Sabbath Priority

Journal Entry // March 6, 2022

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.

Exodus 31:15 ESV

This verse has troubled me for the last few years. There was a time in my life of ministry where I was not honoring the Sabbath. This verse was far removed from my weekly experience. It is true that I technically worked six days and was of off the seventh, but my off day was far from a solemn day of rest. My six days were given to the ministry of working for the church and seeing the gospel go throughout the city. Six days of hard meaningful spiritual work. That seventh day became mine. I became possessive of it and reserved it for whatever I deemed best for me, which was typically not a solemn rest, holy to the Lord.

No. My seventh day became justified in my mind as appropriate to be spent on my own rest and relaxation. A day set aside for me. A day to refresh myself. It became the most self-centered day of the week. The opposite of what the Sabbath is meant to be. And due to my sin and to honor this day, the Lord put me to death. Not a physical end of life death, but a death to my then ministry and expectations for work in the kingdom. The death I received was the removal of all that hindered my keeping of a solemn holy rest to the Lord.

This death was painful. This death was shocking. This death was swift and decisive. This death was exactly what I needed. In God’s perfect wisdom, he removed me from my idol of work and ministry. In a single moment he set aside all that I had grounded my hope and faith in that was not Jesus. And Jesus was all that was left for me to depend upon. There was absolutely nothing else. I brought nothing to the equation. The Lord taught me a hard and valuable lesson, that I shall honor the Lord in my work and in my rest. I will work as unto the Lord and I will rest and find refreshment in the Lord alone.

The Sabbath is a special day in the life of a believer. It is not simply a day set aside to go worship and have fellowship for a few hours on a Sunday. It is more than just giving some of my weekend to the things of God. It is a day set aside to rest and refresh my heart in Jesus. I see this now. I see the struggle each day of the week to connect with Christ in my heart as the business of life moves forward. I feel the yearning of my heart for connection to the Lord. My thirst for his refreshment grows more intense every day. A thirst that is only quenched when I set aside the worries of this world and Sabbath with my Lord.

I need this refreshment more than ever. I need the cool clear waters of his word to penetrate my dry and weary soul. I need this Sabbath refreshment to come before Christ and rejoice. Like a garden of lush green following plants, I need my thirst quenched. I need to feel the warmth of the radiance of the sun as I relax and bask in his glorious grace. So the Lord brought humility into my life and showed me my complete dependence upon him. Now he showers me with grace and mercy and rest and freedom. I embrace him every Sabbath. And in this embrace I find comfort and peace and rest. I find my Father. I am home.

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