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 will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Ex. 33:14), thus teaching us that the "rest" that is in the Sabbath consists of enjoying His "presence." It is recognizing and believing that you are spending the day with your Savior, personally.
But one might say, "Keeping the Sabbath is boring! I can't wait until the 'sacred hours' are over so I can live again--turn on the TV, play games, go to the mall." If in the tiniest way this is your "Sabbath-keeping," here is Good News for you:
"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, and insulted by your resentment of His presence. You'd feel terrible to visit a friend and he avoids you and insults you. But "the Lord of the Sabbath" isn't there 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.
When you attend church feeling that the Sabbath is boring, it's no use to sing, "My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine." The more you sing or pray hypocritically, the more miserable you become. For you, "the law" functions as a jailer, a disciplinarian, the so-called tutor ("schoolmaster," KJV) 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 have evidence that the Lord loves you, and if your heart isn't as hard as a stone, you will sense that you are on the way to healing.
Now what do you do? Jesus tells clearly what your "job" is: "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" (John 6:29).
"But I don't know how to believe!" Then 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 of your frustrations. Be honest: tell Him, "Lord, I believe; [but] help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24; you can never go wrong if you pray that prayer).
Be courteous to your Guest, who is unseen but not unknown. Don't drive Him away. Give your Guest a chance to say something to your heart during these 24 holy hours.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 1, 2003.
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