Purpose of the Sabbath


Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God points out that Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 give two different reasons for the Sabbath.  Exodus invites to join God in rest as he originally did on the 7th day of creation.  He says:

. . .we mimic God in order to remember we’re not God.  In fact, that is a good definition of Sabbath, imitating God so that we stop trying to be God. . . .Sabbath-keeping involves a recognition of our own weakness and smallness, that we are made from dust, that we hold our treasures in clay jars, and that without proper care we break.” 87

We think we’re the exception, the one for whom busyness will translate into fruitfulness.  . . .–we think because our industry and ingenuity seem boundless, we can also figure out a way around our God-imposed need for stillness.  We can’t. The need is not conjured away by medication, technology, discipline, cleverness, sheer willfulness. 88

God commands that we imitate him in order to discover that we’re not him, and that we need him. 88

Well, I know Buchanan is correct because I have tried to live life without rest and stillness and it eventually caught up with me.  When I allowed myself to get out of a rhythm of silence and rest for even one week (which I have done in the last week), I pay the price–tension in my body, critical attitudes, selfishness.  I have to be honest, getting a little older has helped since that has forced me to slow down.  But, the battle continues–pride keeps rearing its ugly head telling me that I can do more, that I don’t need rest or silence, that people will be impressed by the volume of work I can do.  Thanks for the reminder today that I really do need you–help me not to miss you as I live this day!!

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  1. Mark Petersen
    April 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Dave, thanks for this post which is such a great reminder.

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