Take Time to Be Holy
July 21, 2017
This past weekend, I preached on Exodus 16, a passage in which the Israelites are given "daily bread" as provision from God and introduced to the concept of Sabbath. They are given bread from Heaven each morning, and they are to go out and collect what they need for their family for that day. Then, on the 6th day, they are to collect double the daily bread and then rest (not work) on the 7th day. This idea of keeping a day holy and set apart for God is both a commandment and a gift for the people of Israel. It is both imperative and gift for us too.
Why Sabbath? Why does God want us to have a day of rest, a day set apart?
There are lots of answers... here are just a few:
-a day of rest reminds us that the world does not depend upon us. Instead, we dedicate a day to worship and celebrate God, on whom the world does depend.
-we follow God's lead in creation--God rested on the 7th day--and Jesus' example. We often think that if Jesus did it, perhaps we should too.
-the Sabbath is a gift--it is meant for us to enjoy time with Christ, time with family and friends, and a lot of other great things like time in nature, recreation, naps, and eating good food.
-a day of rest allows us to work more effectively on the other six days of the week. Resting from employment work is important, but so is resting from work like household tasks, paying bills, making schedules, cleaning, and other kinds of work that we do.
-keeping Sabbath means we take seriously Jesus' invitation to be holy. We recognize that we need dedicated time to grow in our knowledge of God, to pray, to worship, and to be transformed.
I'm reminded of a hymn, "Take Time to be Holy." It says this:
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
Seeking God's presence ought to happen daily, in and out of the hours of each day, but there is certainly a place in my life for Sabbath. I don't keep a whole 24 hours dedicated as a work-free zone, but it's more than just a nice idea to me. I find myself healthier, full of joy, and confident in my relationship with the Lord when I carve out the hours to worship, pray, rest, and play.
Do you take time to be holy?