If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord… ~ Isaiah 58:13-14a (NIV)
These verses from Isaiah are some of my favorites. Yes, really.
At first glance, one might think they are rather legalistic. That they apply only to the Jewish Sabbath. Or if applying to our Sunday, they fuel the debate of what Christians can or cannot do on that day. Do we have to go to church every Sunday? Can we go shopping? To the movies? Play golf? Eat out? Plow a field? Throw a party?
But as I read the verses, I see them extending beyond that issue.
To begin with, “sabbath” simply means rest, cessation, intermission. A time without the clatter of the world interrupting our thoughts and our lives. A time to rest and recharge. It can be all of Sunday. For some, it can be another day of the week. It can be the smaller amounts of time we take each day for devotions. For prayer. For a quiet time of just listening for the Lord to speak to our hearts.
These verses put the focus of any Sabbath time where it should be—on the Lord, not on ourselves and our selfish desires. And when our focus is where it should be, we can begin to see every day as a delight. A day for doing and saying what pleases God. A day that we honor as belonging to the Lord.
And look at what we find when we do that! Joy! Joy in the Lord! A joy that nothing in this world can give. A joy that nothing in this world can take away!
May we pause as often as we can in the midst of our busy lives for a Sabbath rest. And as we find our joy in the Lord, may we also delight in every day truly being the Lord’s day.
Linda Cox is a regular contributor to DivineDetour. She recently retired after twenty-five years as a district office secretary for the State of Illinois. Her first loves are studying the Bible and reading, but Linda occasionally tries her hand at writing. Her work is published in All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa (Thomas Nelson), The One-Year Life Verse Devotional (Tyndale), Life Lessons from Grandparents (Write Integrity) and the Love Is a Verb devotional (Bethany House). She and her husband live on a farm with their two indoor/outdoor farm mutts.