Summary: Life get’s busy pretty fast but yet God calls us to this thing called Sabbath. What is it and how does it work in our fast paced society?
As I was looking through the suggestion cards last week, there was one that stuck out to me that I thought would be a good place to start the year with. The question was, “How do you find time for friends, family, school and religion in everyday life?” We all have so much in our lives that we are trying to balance and find time for but yet there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to fit everything. What are the things that you guys are juggling right now or feel like you should be trying to juggle when it comes to your schedules? [school, homework, a job, family time, church, youth group, sports, clubs, music – practicing an instrument, concerts, listening to CD’s; boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, devotions, reading, sleep!, and more…]
Finding time to balance all of our lives is really hard and to be honest I am probably one of the worst examples. I tend to over pack my schedule with way too much and end up paying for it in my relationship with Melissa (because I’m not spending time with her) or simply my own energy or stress levels.
What we’re going to do tonight is two things. First, I want to do some exploring through the Bible about this thing called Sabbath – what it is, why God is so passionate about it and how it applies to this issue of balancing our schedules. Then, I want to give you guys the floor to share with each other some tips/advice/thoughts about how to balance your schedules and find time for Sabbath. Let’s dive in…
What is Sabbath? What does the word mean and where does it come from? Sabbath is a Hebrew word that literally means “to desist,” “cease” or “rest.” Most people attribute the first reference of Sabbath to come from the Creation account. After the first 6 days of creation where God put the world together, Genesis 2:2-3 says this: “3By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
As these verses explain the seventh day of creation, take a look at Genesis 1 and check out the difference between this days description compared to the first six. There is one major difference by omission. Anyone know what it is? Each of the first 6 days end with the phrase, “And evening passed and morning came marking the ____ day.” Anyone have any ideas about why this phrase was omitted? Well, a guy…(anyone want to guess the guys name? Rob Bell)…expressed in a DVD called Everything Is Spiritual that this was on purpose because God was trying to express an invitation to come and join God in that rest. This was a poetic way of God saying, “Come to me, trust me, let me take care of you, find rest and peace and comfort.”
From here, the first time in the Bible that we see this word “Sabbath” comes in Exodus 16. For the sake of time, let me just quickly walk through the passage as opposed to reading the whole thing. This chapter comes after the Israelites are rescued from Egypt by God and Moses and they are wandering around in the wilderness. In verse 3 is says the people began to whine and complain to Moses, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
God responds to this by saying that it will rain bread in the morning and that quails will come in the evening (which is no simple feat given they are in the desert) but that there are three instructions he gives them. What are they?
• Verse 16 – take only what you need
• Verse 19 – don’t save any
• Verse 23 – on the sixth day you can keep double because tomorrow will be a day of rest (Sabbath)
What is the root of what God is getting at with the people and the Sabbath? Trust!! And how do the people do? Not so good. They all actually gathered what they needed (verse 18) but then tried to save some (verse 20) and went out on the Sabbath to look for bread (verse 27). In verse 29, God speaks to Moses about the Sabbath and the people’s stubbornness saying, “Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” What is God saying about the Sabbath and the purpose of it?