lately i’ve been on a journey through the old testament. i’ve read through genesis, exodus and leviticus and something has struck a chord deeply in my heart.
right from the beginning, God grafted a need for rest into our souls – and into the fabric of our world. the sabbath isn’t just about a saturday off. it’s about connecting with God. taking the space and the time to rest. rejuvenate. be at peace.
what i love about God’s commandments for the Sabbath include creation-care. perhaps He knew that millenia in the future, we humans would struggle with overwork, over-production, over-stress, and over-consumption. stemming from our greed, of course.
“The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten. (Lev. 25: 1-7)
Isn’t that beautiful? A clause, built into the fabric of Hebrew society, that calls for rest – as a statement of worship to God. i wonder what our hustling and bustling western society would look like if all of our land lay fallow on the 7th year. if every 7 years slaves were set free. if ever 50 years all of the debt in society was forgotten – just like that.
I like what Abraham Joshua Heschel said:
“The Sabbath is not for the sake of the weekdays; the weekdays are for the sake of Sabbath. It is not an interlude but the climax of living…The Sabbath is the day on which we learn the art of surpassing civilization.”
Surpassing civilization. moving above and beyond the greed for more, more, more, more and more and into a deeper understanding of the presence of God. That’s the Sabbath.