Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Covenant Sabbath-keeping

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Keeping the Sabbath day is not a matter of cold obedience, motivated by fear if we don't keep it, nor hope of reward if we do. That is Old Covenant day-keeping.

New Covenant Sabbath-keeping is heart-to-heart companionship with the One who is "the Lord of the Sabbath." He said to Moses, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Ex. 33:14), thus teaching us that the "rest" that is in the Sabbath consists of enjoying His "presence." It is recognizing, believing, that you are spending the day with your Savior, personally.

"But keeping the Sabbath is boring for me! I can't wait until the so-called 'sacred hours' are over, so I can live again--turn on my TV, watch DVDs, play games, go to the mall. With Sabbath over, fun begins again, time to 'live' until the boring day comes again a week later. I love the fun when being 'holy' is over."

If in the tiniest way this is your "Sabbath-keeping," here is Good News for you:

(1) "The Lord of the Sabbath" will totally transform your experience, if you don't interpose a rebellious will to stop Him (He is the High Priest cleansing His sanctuary--He does the work). Of course, He feels wounded, slighted, insulted by your resentment of His presence. You'd feel terrible to visit a friend and he snubs you, avoids you, insults you. But "the Lord of the Sabbath" isn't out to take revenge. He's not mad at you; He feels terribly sorry for you. You are missing the joy of life itself, and on the way to miss eternity.

(2) When you attend church on the outs with Him like that, it's no use to sing, "My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine," etc. The more you sing or pray hypocrisy, the more miserable you become. For you, "the law" functions as a jailer, a disciplinarian, the so-called "schoolmaster" of Galatians 3:22-25. Its job is precisely that--to make you miserable under the Old Covenant until you long for the New Covenant. You've got prima facie evidence that the Lord loves you! Understand the secret of this insight, and if your heart isn't as hard as a stone, you will sense that you are on the way to healing.

(3) Now, what to DO? The answer is not to play at this or that as an exercise in more legalism; Jesus clearly tells what your job is: "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John 6:29).

(4) "But I don't know how to believe!" Very well, make a choice to stop dis-believing. Let the first sacred moments of the Sabbath find you using some sanctified common sense: the Lord of the Sabbath comes with it. Be decent to Him, at least as much as you would if your neighbor dropped in for a visit. Tell Him, yes; tell Him of your frustrations. Be honest: tell Him, "Lord, I believe; [but] help Thou My unbelief" (Mark 9:24; you can never lose out if you pray that prayer).

(5) Be courteous to your Guest, Unseen but not Unknown. Stop driving Him away! Therefore, turn off your TV, DVDs, CDs. Give your Guest a chance to say something to your heart for these 24 holy hours.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 1, 2003.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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