Saturday and the Sabbath

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Saturday and the Sabbath

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Once upon a time there was a family where the mother worked full-time and she would rest somewhat every Sunday afternoon, if you count ironing for several hours as rest.

I thought that life was passing me by, due to working Monday through Friday and spending almost the whole weekend getting the house in order, leaving no time for myself or God.

Every Saturday, however was the official cleaning day.  That’s right!  I wasn’t yet called by God at this time.  I literally spent over twenty years dreading Saturdays.  If things didn’t go like clockwork, then there was no way I could fit all the cleaning in.  There were three full bed linen changes, the washing machine would run nearly all day and, if it was winter, then the dryer would be stuffed full many times over.  There was dusting, vacuuming, washing tiled floors, thoroughly cleaning the bathroom, putting things away, and then finally I could stop and cook dinner that evening.  It was a sprint to the finish and it certainly felt like a marathon!

It was truly an understatement to say how much I hated my Saturdays.

The contrast of Saturdays vs. the Sabbath

Nowadays I awaken on Sabbath mornings to feelings of enormous peace, clarity, joy, pleasure, love, excitement, ultimate focus, and deep thankfulness to our Father who has changed my life from bondage to freedom; the freedom of the Truth. (John 8:32)  Cleaning still gets done but God has shown me a much better way, by doing little by little each day during the week, so everything comes together nicely by the time the Sabbath begins.  I tend to listen to sermons on the iPad these days while I do the housework and because I am concentrating on His word, I really do not notice the housework any more.  It is as if someone else has helped carry the load.

Having the preparation day to get done all those last minute things such as getting clothing washed and pressed, shoes cleaned, fuel for the car, food and extra nice treats/drinks to share on the Sabbath. Plus getting errands done that always seem to pop up last minute. Together it builds up the excitement that a celebration is about to occur.  The anticipation steadily climbs throughout the week while doing the necessary things with a focus towards the goal – a beautifully relaxed Sabbath day where everything is as it should be; a day to focus on our Creator and to be with our spiritual family of like mind; a wonderful day of worship and release.

I can’t convey strongly enough the stark contrast between where I was in life and where I am now.  When I think about how things were, I am reminded of how stressed I was and how hurried I felt. I thought that life was passing me by, due to working Monday through Friday and spending almost the whole weekend getting the house in order, leaving no time for myself or God.  I never want to go back to such an awful lifestyle!

Peaceful blessings

To go to sleep Friday evenings knowing there is a full 24 hours of rest has certainly helped me spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  I do not get sick with coughs, colds, the flu, and even pneumonia, like I used to.  I enjoy therapeutic sleep without burning the candle at both ends, and it is amazing how much healthier one feels just by getting this 24 hour period of rest and rejuvenation.  It all seems to reset my brain and body to function at optimal efficiency.

God is telling us very clearly in Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;  and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.  The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Wow, did you get that?!  Riding on the high hills of the earth is something I had never experienced until I kept the Sabbath.  There is nothing like it......the ways of the world pale in utter insignificance.  No wonder Paul tells us in Philippians 3:7-9 that everything he knew, said, and did, plus all things he thought were important or meaningful to him prior to his conversion, he now considered as rubbish, when compared to what he had obtained......the excellence of the knowledge of Christ, and that He be found in him.

Keeping our divine appointment

In Exodus 20:8 God tells us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”. It really is an appointment we need to keep each week in order to be blessed.  How else are we to get to know our Father and allow Him to prepare us for His kingdom?  1 John 5:3 informs us that God’s commandments are not burdensome; they are a real pleasure to those who love God.

Have some time set aside to think about the Sabbath. Think about hymns you would like to sing in praise to God.  Just a couple of Sabbaths ago, I was looking at the hymn, “O How Love I Thy Law” (based on Psalm 119:97-104) and thinking that I would really like to sing it (as we had not sung it in quite a while).  Guess what happened?  It was our next hymn!  I couldn’t wipe the big beaming smile off my face.  I personally felt that it was no coincidence.  Blessings are there and God definitely wants to give them to us.

Building your relationship with God

Through keeping the weekly Sabbath (and the seven annual holy day festivals—Leviticus 23), I am on a journey of discovery of who God is and I realize there is none like Him (Jeremiah 10:6).

God is love, power, mercy, and the law; the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13). He counsels me with much laughter, tears, reasoning, and solutions to all of my problems.  He is medicine to my ears and eyes that were damaged in the ways of the world for so many years. 

Reading our Bibles is a great way to start the Sabbath morning.  After formal prayer on my knees, I get up and make a cup of Irish breakfast tea.  The sound of the kettle boiling water on the Sabbath seems more pleasant; the water poured into my special fine bone china cup, (a gift from a precious sister in the faith, now living thousands of miles away at the other end of Australia), is even different than on any other day of the week.  As I marvel at these things I am listening to magpies, crows and various other birds who sing sweetly and in unison to me.  I have all my windows open and the fresh air is so clean and pure, and I begin my informal prayers (those that are a conversation with my best friend); the One who I do not see with my eyes but Whom I see in every single thing around me.

My Sabbath sounds and smells are magnified somewhat as I drink in the abundance of what I have been graciously given, not only physically and emotionally, but especially spiritually.

I am reminded often of a chorus from one of my favorite Hymns,“let us keep God’s Sabbath holy, a day of worship and release, as a shadow of what is to come, God’s government of peace!”