Obedience + Love = Worship

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.            – Genesis 2:1-3 (NLT)

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”    – Exodus 20:8-11 (NLT)

Some weeks I come to Friday morning and I am pumped for the weekend because that means relaxation and rest. Other weeks I get to Friday and I just want to collapse. It seems like I do not have energy to even relax and rest!

It is interesting to me that as I read these two passages from the Old Testament that I am once again awed and humbly blessed at the way that God created all that I would need in my life here on this earth. He did not miss one detail. Not one.

God no doubt noted the importance of the Sabbath as a time for me to focus on Him. This day was to be a time for me to spend time with Him. But both of these passages use the word “rest” several times. God rested. I am to rest.

Physically. It doesn’t take much time reading medical journals and articles to compile a comprehensive file on the factor of rest and its effect on my health. Rest isn’t just sleep but certainly it is a vital part of my physical rest. It is also doing activities that physically relax me. I have a friend who loves to ride her bicycle 10-20 miles during her weekend and when she does that – she is energized and recharged!

Spiritually. Soaking in the presence of God, whether that is singing, praying (talking with Him!), reading His word, or just sitting in silence are some activities that characterize a Sabbath. That could be in a building with a group of like believers. The Quakers were known to spend the entire day together as they worshiped and ate together. It can also be a day in which God and I spend one-on-one time. It is important to remember that I need the accountability and encouragement of other believers but an occasional day with just God and me is a wonderful Sabbath too.

Emotionally. For me, part of that soaking in God’s presence is a time when God cleans me of the emotional “junk” that might be sticking to me and then fills me up with His love so I can go out again the next week and “leak” that love all over people. This is probably the area that I have neglected the most in my life. I run too much with my emotional tank too close to empty. God wants to fill me with His love. He wants to hold me in His arms and tell me how much He loves me. And I want to hear that.

The Sabbath isn’t about attending church like I show up for class at school and get checked off the roll. The Sabbath is an act of obedience but it is also an act of love. That is worship that pleases my LORD because it is about Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24).

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) written and sung by Chris Tomlin


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