It was this past Wednesday around 10a. We were at Marlin’s house. Keith, Jason, Marlin, and myself. We were reading Hebrews chapter 4 together and discussing what God says to us about entering His rest/trusting Him. Later that same day I listened to what Wendell and Eugene had to say about what God has to say about Sabbath …and here’s what I heard:
The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend:
Is borne, preserved, and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.
Your Sabbath, Lord, thus keeps us by
Your will, not ours. And it is fit
Our only choice should be to die
Into that rest, or out of it.
The most striking thing about the Sabbath is that it begins by not doing anything. …The Hebrew word Shabbat simply means “quit, stop, take-a-break.” Whatever you are doing, stop it. Whatever you are saying, shut up. Sit down and take a look around you, don’t do anything; don’t say anything, fold your hands, take a deep-breath. Creation is so endlessly complex and so intricately interconnected, that if we are not very careful and deeply reverent before what is clearly way beyond us – no matter how well-intentioned we are – we will probably interfere (usually in a damaging way) with what God has done and is doing. So BEGIN by not doing anything …attend, adore.
The word Sabbath arrives on the pages of Genesis in the context of creation …God making heaven and earth. When the work was complete, God rested (stopped speaking, stopped making). The Seventh Day Not Doing in other words took place in the context of much doing. Thus Sabbath is never a day of mere not doing (the context won’t permit it). The Sabbath (human not-doing) becomes a day of set-apart/unique God honoring (i.e. knowing God – Ezekiel 20:12). We must regularly pause/stop and be reminded (by ourselves, and others, and above all – the Holy Spirit) that all our work is done in the context of God’s work (and any/all worthwhile work is ultimately God’s workmanship [1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:12-13]). Sabbath is a deliberate act of interference, an interruption of our work each week. A decree of NO WORK so we are able to notice, to attend, to listen, to assimilate this comprehensive and majestic work of God; to orient our work in the work of God. If we are to live out the reality and meaning of creation we are going to be inextricably involved with Sabbath keeping. Time is a sacrament of eternity, and Sabbath is a workshop for the practice of eternity …the other life then, is the other life now [Peter Forsyth]). God’s sabbatical rest is something in which humans can and must participate. And if we are really going to participate in God’s creation work, then SABBATH is our point of entry. God’s invitation to us into His creation work and Sabbath keeping is Him saying, “Enter into, and keep rhythm and time with Me.” To keep the Sabbath is to erect a weekly bastion against the commodification of time. Moreover, we see in this invitation a very primary means by which we strive, fight, and run to trust and obey God (specifically His Top 2 Rules). Take, for example, the emphasis on the Sabbath commandment in the book of Exodus, where God accentuates the opportunity to get-in-on what He’s up to (i.e. an offer to really know and love God Himself!); whereas the emphasis on the Sabbath commandment in the book of Deuteronomy accentuates the ripe occasion of cultivating love, fellowship, and justice in relationship with others (because our fellow human beings are not to be policy victims, performance validators, projects, or our personal ponies …they are persons fashioned in the image of the 3 eternal persons – God Himself!).
Eugene Peteron “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places”