The practice of Sabbath is key to our wholehearted devotion to God. When was the last time you devoted a block of time to reflect on God’s goodness and grace, his love and compassion, his holiness and righteousness? People who Sabbath are closer to God…
19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand at the Gate of the People, through which the kings of Judah go in and out; stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem. 20 Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem who come through these gates. 21 This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.
23 Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. 24 But if you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, 25 then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.
26 People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the western foothills, from the hill country and the Negev, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord.
This Sabbath reminder coming through the prophet Jeremiah is important for us today. I know, we aren’t under the law. And I know that the Sabbath was created for people and not people for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). This isn’t a ritual which is lord over us. Yet, as we reflect on the Lord’s words here, we see that the practice of Sabbath is key to our wholehearted devotion to God.
We see as we read the detail here, that if Jerusalem keeps the Sabbath, two things will happen: first, the city will be inhabited forever and the kings who sit on David’s throne will live there; the second outcome is that people from all around Jerusalem will bring offerings to the temple.
Keeping the Sabbath will prolong the life of the city and will turn the hearts of the people toward worship and offering to the Lord. Okay… now we’re on to something.
When was the last time you devoted a block of time to reflect on God’s goodness and grace, his love and compassion, his holiness and righteousness? More than church service… more than praying on your drive to work… a block of time. We are hard-pressed to spend a block of time on anything, aren’t we?
Every once in a while someone asks me if I golf. Nope. I don’t golf. In fact, I don’t understand how anyone does golf. Golf takes a block of time. A serious block of time. It’s hours and hours if you play 18 holes and if you stop for the obligatory cold one on the 19th hole. I don’t have hours and hours to devote to one thing.
God is saying here that if we make that time – and let’s take the law out of it and focus on the grace – if we make that time regularly (whether Saturday or Sunday or Tuesday), it will greatly impact our longevity and our relationship with God.
That’s because people who Sabbath are closer to God. They reflect on God and his love for them, they likely express back to God their devotion and love for God’s provision and blessing in their lives, and they stay connected to these realities. They don’t lose the line of sight to the Lord.
As a consequence, sin is less likely to drag them down (their city will last and be blessed by God) and they will press into worshiping God with all of their lives.
Notice that the deeper we go in worship the more likely we are to allow worship to flow through our wallets...
This is a litmus test for us. If we love worship, yet we aren’t regular, generous, sacrificial givers, we may be loving the experience of worship more than the purpose of worship. Everyone loves a great worship service, yet the function of worship is to position our whole selves as living sacrifices before the Lord (Romans 12:1-2). And so, if our worship services are moments in time and they do not extend across every venue of life and every decision we make (including financial), we are kidding ourselves.
Taking Sabbath time to connect with God regularly will benefit us in our longevity of wholeheartedness and our surrender fully as living sacrifices.
Time for some Sabbath.