Human Race

Isaiah 56:1
I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord,
. . . who worship Him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest,
and who hold fast to My covenant (v.6).

The alarm clock goes off way too early. At least,
that’s how it feels. But a long day awaits you. First,
you need to drop the kids off at school. Then there’s
a breakfast meeting to attend, followed by a whole
series of urgent matters to deal with.

That’s a typical day for a lot of people. As someone
once said, “That’s why we’re called the human race.”
Rest is one thing we crave but something we’re so
poor at doing well. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath
was often desecrated. And in the New Testament, it was
grossly misunderstood.
In Isaiah 56, Sabbath is mentioned three times
(vv.2,4,6). We learn that keeping the Sabbath wasn’t for
devout Jews only, but for anyone who desired to walk
with God.

One Bible teacher explains, “Sabbath is the time set
aside to do nothing so that we can receive everything,
to set aside our anxious attempts to make ourselves
useful, to set aside our tense restlessness, to set aside our
media-saturated boredom. Sabbath is the time to receive
silence and let it deepen into gratitude, to receive quiet
into which forgotten faces and voices unobtrusively
make themselves present, to receive the days of the just
completed week and absorb the wonder and miracle
still reverberating from each one, to receive our Lord’s
amazing grace.”

By establishing a Sabbath time, we learn that by subtracting certain
distractions from our schedules, we can add meaning to our lives. By
subtracting, we actually gain. By emptying our schedule, God can fill us anew.
In Exodus 16:29, we’re told, “The Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you.” A
Sabbath time isn’t simply a discipline to inculcate; it’s a gift to be enjoyed.

—Poh Fang Chia

Read Isaiah 58:13 to see how to enjoy your personal Sabbath time.

When is your Sabbath time? How does true rest help us live more effective
lives for God?