To be Sanctified
The Lord gave His people Israel the Sabbath. Like the rest of the Law, it was placed there for their own good. They were to follow the Law, to stray from it in anyway was to sin. Sabbath was made so that Israel would stop what they were doing. They weren't to collect manna on the Sabbath. Double up the night before, and on the Sabbath it will be enough. They were to stop, rest, and reflect. "that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them..." How else were they to know? The rest of the week was one filled with hard labor. One day was set apart for rest.
As the Lord has been making this truth clearer to me especially in the last couple years, He has used Sabbath truly to show me more of my need for Him. It is with a day of rest, or even a life of resting in Him, that I would learn that all the doing, working, striving, isn't actually what He wants from me. I need His sanctifying, His cleansing, His transforming. Barton says in her book about Moses, "One of the main lessons we can learn in our spiritual journey is that God is not in any particular hurry to get us to the Promised Land. He is much more concerned about the transforming work He is doing in us to prepare us for greater responsibilities of freedom living. Onlookers may observe the journey, and think we are just wandering around aimlessly, but God knows what He is doing; He is concerned about strengthening our faith so that we are prepared when there are real challenges to be faced."
Sometimes I feel that I too, like the Israelites are wandering out there in the desert. Learning over and over again, the same lessons. Giving space for listening and being still is a must. I'm learning to do that, for it is in the silence and in the listening that brings something truer to life than all of the doing. Learning the rhythm of rest, of Sabbath, all that has been missing from my busy life. While times with the Lord have always been a priority, longer times, longer periods of resting, listening, silence,.... I give Him room to speak, to show me areas of sin, and to let Him sanctify.
All of this doesn't happen in a vacuum. As I write, there's a large group of kids running around our 90 square meter apartment playing nerf darts. Life happens, and most of the time it is very full, and for now, not very quiet.. The hymn writer William Longstaff penned these words back in 1882, "Take time to be holy, speak oft with the Lord. Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word." If Longstaff was writing that over a hundred years ago, how much more is that call to us today. To take time aside, to be holy, to be sanctified. Thank You, Lord for Sabbath.