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Remembering the Sabbath

Weekly Devotionals

Remembering the Sabbath

Leviticus 25

23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.

42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves.

55 for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

In the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to think a lot about the Sabbath and Jubilee.  The Sabbath is not taking a nap.  It’s more than coming to church on Sunday and not working.  Dr. John Walton, Pastor Dave, and Pastor Tony have taught on Sabbath.  Now I am reading “The Sacred Slow” by Alicia Britt Chole in Moms Life Group.  The premise of the book rests on the fundamentals of Sabbath rest – what it is and why we are to observe it.  The book sums up Leviticus 25 as follows:

As you free others, remember how God freed you.

As you rest the land, remember who truly owns it.

As you cancel debts, remember who cancelled yours.

As you listen to the Law, remember the price your forefathers paid for not listening.

Remembering the above 4 precepts could have a profound impact on how we relate to God, our things, and our relationships.  As I remember the Sabbath and these 4 precepts, the first thing that comes to my mind is the first part of the sentence before “remember”  –  the cost of remembering.  Perhaps this is why the Israelites did not observe or listen to the command until after the Exile.  How costly might it have been to the original hearers of God’s command?  Ask yourself, what would the Israelite community have looked like if they had remembered and listened? Without a doubt, it would have been hard. It would have meant letting go of control, letting go of striving, letting go of any pride associated with your harvest or productivity. It would have been humbling.  Now ask yourself, what would your life and the life around you look like if you applied the same commands to your life?  What would you have to give up if you applied the same commands?

Focusing then on the second part of the sentence I’m forced to remember that the cost is not mine, to begin with, but God’s.  Ask yourself, how do you view God when you remember the four reminders above?  Oddly for me, I have a sense of confidence in God.  God owns the land.  God frees us and cancels our debts.  We do not have to sweat and toil endlessly.  In remembering to let go, we build trust with God that he will provide. We get to witness His abundance and generosity.  Slow down and ask yourself the questions above and observe or record your responses.  What areas in your life do you need to let go?  What views of God do you need to build up?  Now have an honest conversation with God.  He is ready to listen.