Monday, April 19, 2021

Keeping the Sabbath

By: Joanne Viola 


The word gets thrown around pretty easily. Somewhere in the course of time, the word came to carry the connotation of going to church, on Sundays.

But it means so much more.

Sabbath – “the seventh day of the week, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians; any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath; any special day of prayer or rest” (

Sabbath, or the Hebrew word “sabbat”, actually means to stop or to cease. When we take time to stop working, we display an act of trust that it is God holding everything together and not us. We acknowledge our hands do not need to be in everything at every single moment in time.

“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
(Isaiah 58:13-14, NLT)

As I read this Scripture, in the margin of my Bible I wrote – “Keeping the Sabbath –> reward”:

  1. “The Lord will be your delight.”
  2. “I will give you great honor.”
  3. “I will satisfy you.”

We like the idea of rewards, but somehow we skip over the part of what one must do to obtain those rewards:

  • “Keep the Sabbath day holy.” Set a day apart to God – to think about Him, to worship Him, to hear His Word.
  • “Don’t pursue your own interests on that day.” Keep a day off from work. Your body, soul and spirit will be most grateful.
  • “Enjoy the Sabbath.” May the day you set aside become a day of delight for you. May you look forward to the time you spend with Him, as much as He looks forward to spending time with you.
  • “Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day.” We need to think about this long and hard. If it doesn’t honor Him on the day you set apart, then don’t do it.
  • “Don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.” Both will lead us away from resting in Him.

Sabbath doesn’t come easily as we are so programmed to doing, going, and keeping busy. We fall into the trap of thinking these define our level of productivity, and perhaps they do in many ways. Yet in order to keep on being productive, we need time to get restorative rest and be renewed.

Keeping the Sabbath will bring me to resting in Him.
Keeping the Sabbath —> reward.


 Photo by Jonas Allert on Unsplash






1 comment:

  1. Discovering that passage in Isaiah a few years ago transformed my thinking about the Sabbath: it's not just a day of "can'ts," not even just a day of rest, but it's a day set aside unto the Lord, a day to delight in.


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