Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Delight of the Sabbath

In Isaiah, we read:

“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the LORD,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13-14

I have been meditating on these verses for a few weeks. It tells us that we are to resist the temptations to go after what we take pleasure in and desist from our own ways and words on the Sabbath - the holy day of the Lord. Instead of these things, if we call the Sabbath a delight as He commands us, then the Lord says we will receive an inheritance of joy and delight in the Lord. With relationship to corporate worship on the Lord's Day, I have often asked myself if there is any other place I would rather be, people I would rather be with, or activity I would rather be doing. We all must ask ourselves that question.

The culture and world gives us multitudes of places, people and activities with which we can occupy our Sundays. I have even seen many Christians immediately jump at these opportunities over the regular stated corporate worship of their church. These opportunities take the shape of sporting events, hunting and fishing season, or just needing some time away. Do we really believe that God wants our absolute best and instructs us accordingly? If so, why do Christians jump so quickly at these excuses to miss corporate worship? No matter what your view of Sabbath day observance, you surely must agree that God has revealed in Scripture the need for gathering with our brothers and sisters on His day to worship Him. Or then again, maybe you don't agree and maybe you don't see.

In relationship to this, I am often reminded of the quote by C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory. Lewis writes:

Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

This is true. We pursue those things which we think will make us happy while missing the greatest joy available to us. I believe this happens with many Christians and the Sabbath. I do not speak with pride, but I speak as one who at one time in my life would have more easily been drawn from corporate worship on the Sabbath by these things. I speak as one who is still learning how to best observe the Sabbath. I speak as one who fails often in this. But, I also speak as one who wants the most infinite joy and delight in the Lord that is possible on this earth. And the Lord tells me here that if I delight in the Sabbath, I will delight in the Lord. Christians, let us believe God wants our absolute best and that He prescribes in His word how we can pursue it. If we believe so, we must believe what He tells us about His Holy Sabbath.


Robin said...

The Sabbath seems a deep, cool spring-fed well that I have just dangled my feet into ... do I trust an all-wise God to provide all the rest required? Why not dive in? What holds me back from trusting Him?

BWS said...


Thanks for the comment. I love your description. We should trust God enough to dive into the Sabbath - not just touch it. Great way of putting it.