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February 10, 2020  

A Rhythm of Rest
(Discovering God’s Will Together; #10)
Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15

“Shabbat is, without question, the part of Judaism I miss the most. Sabbath shaped all our rhythms of calendar and time: the entire week revolved around Shabbat.
(Lauren Winner; Mudhouse Sabbath)

A. For most people, Sunday is anything but a day of rest

B. God has given us the gift of Sabbath and Jesus

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, I will give your rest”
(Matthew 11:28)


A. The Sabbath is deeply imbedded in Creation

“God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2)

B. At Sinai, God placed Sabbath into Covenant

1. Exodus reads “Remember [zakhor] the Sabbath day and keep it holy [kadosh]”;

Deuteronomy reads “Observe [shamor, keep] the Sabbath day and keep it holy”

2. In Exodus (20:11) the basis for remembering Sabbath is Creation. In

Deuteronomy 5:15, we observe Sabbath to keep Covenant

3. Rabbis asked why Exodus says remember and Deuteronomy says observe

a. Answer: Sunday through Tuesday we remember the past Sabbath;

Wednesday through Friday we prepare to observe the coming Sabbath

b. Answer: all of life revolves around Sabbath


A. Sabbath is a way of ordering our lives around nurturing our soul

1. It is a way of keeping God in the center of our life (i.e., calendar)

2. It is a way of setting apart a time for worship

3. It is a way of balancing our life: work and rest

B. Sabbath is a way to honor the limits of our humanness

1. Sabbath reminds us we’re not in control or indispensible

When we cease interfering in the world we are acknowledging that it is God’s world.” (Lis Harris, Holy Days)

2. Sabbath reminds us we need rest, refreshment and replenishment

3. Sabbath reminds us to live within our limits

A. Stop! We stop on Sabbath because God is on the throne

1. We stop working. What constitutes work for us is what needs to stop!

2. We stop wanting - buying and selling, feeding our consumerism

3. We stop worrying. Worrying is emotionally and mentally exhausting

B. Rest! Once we stop, Sabbath calls us to rest like all our work is done

1. The invitation to rest is to focus on nurturing our soul

2. Whatever renews, refreshes, replenishes our soul, glorifies God and brings joy

C. Delight (cf. Isaiah 58:13-14) in God, in who he is and what he has done

1. God invites us to slow down, to be present to Him, to enjoy his creation

2. Don’t make Sabbath a weighty exercise; engage it with delight

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

D. Contemplation! We have the opportunity to practice his presence

1. We have the opportunity to worship and celebrate his holiness

2. We have the opportunity to taste our eternal Sabbath (cf. Rev. 22:4)

3. We give attention to intentionally restoring our soul

“Disentangle our mind from worldly cares and troubles... preparing our self for the coming Sunday with prayer...[and] retire to rest betimes so as to be punctual and sprightly at church the next morning.” (Friedrich Stark)


A. Many have missed the (Sabbath) blessing

1. We seldom think about Jesus’ resurrection (or ours) – even on Sunday

2. We’ve lost the concept of rest; corporate worship has become optional

3. Churches increasingly plan “work” on Sunday for convenience

“The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27)

B. Keeping the Sabbath rhythm, focusing on God; nurturing our souls is important

“There is something in the (original) Sabbath that is missing from most Christian Sundays: a true cessation from the rhythms of work and world, a time wholly set apart, and, perhaps above all, a sense that the point of Shabbat, the orientation of Sabbath is toward God.” (Lauren Winner)

1. Think of Sabbath as a “snow day” once a week

2. Accept his invitation to stop, rest, delight, and contemplate every week

C. We need time to “be still and know that he is God.” God has given us the time.

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