Thursday, September 29, 2011

(Surely you're not talking about NFL football, right?!?!)

"If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth..." 
(Isaiah 58:13-14)

Those of us who grew up going to Sunday School learned that one of the 10 COMMANDMENTS is to "remember the sabbath and keep it holy."  Today, most of us Christians have boiled that down to meaning, "Go to church (at least) once a week."  And while going to church (presumably to worship God) is very important, it may not quite be what was originally intended by this commandment.

Isaiah 58 goes a long way in "fleshing out" what keeping the sabbath holy means (And let me warn all who read this - you may feel challenged like I did!).  Isaiah speaks of how we trample the sabbath: pursuing our own interests, going our own ways, pursuing our own affairs.  Now, if we equate sabbath with church, then we're let off the hook as long as we get to church on Sunday (unless we happen to be checking the football scores on our smart phones during service!).  But if we go back to the idea that sabbath was AN ENTIRE DAY... then we start feeling the pangs of guilt.

Sundays have become days to do all sorts of things - in addition to attending church (if we even do that).  Sports, family outings, meals with friends, take naps, etc.  Have we lost the focus on God?  Or can we honor God by being intentional about acknowledging God and God's place in our families and relationships - especially on Sundays?

I'm not saying that Christians shouldn't watch NFL football on Sundays (heck, I'm a HUGE fan myself!).  But might we be able to find more ways to "take delight in the LORD" - even outside of worship?  Might we even choose to pursue more activities that honor the holiness of the sabbath?  (Yah, I know... I feel it too, my friend... I feel it too.)

But Isaiah tells us that when we do this... when we become intentional about honoring the sabbath, God has promised to make us "ride upon the heights of the earth." I don't exactly know what that means... but it sounds awesome!

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