The Sabbath day was both an opportunity for the children of Israel to have some margin that would enhance their enjoyment of their new life and an exercise in showing a heightened respect for Yahweh. But they didn’t appreciate the gift. Israel likely felt about the same as we do about taking a space of time to simply appreciate God.
By the time of the New Testament, it got worse. The religious leaders attached so many regulations and requirements to the law that it squeezed out the purpose for which God had given the gift in the first place. Today, if we aren’t careful, we’ll also be unable to realize and appreciate the beauty of God’s intention.
Hebrews 4 says a “rest” remains for the people of God and that we have to “make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience” (v. 11).
Don’t miss these three important words: Make. Every. Effort.
Listen, the journey ahead of us in this study and in our lives is going to require an “effort.” Discipline and diligence will always be prerequisites if we expect to experience the freedom and rest that God intends for us. To dive deeply into this concept, and then to align our decisions and lifestyle patterns to the truths we uncover, will be no walk in the park. But as a girl who’s watching this Sabbath principle unshackle the chains from my life, more and more every day, I can tell you it’s worth all the effort we expend.
So don’t wait, OK? Let’s start today, setting some strategic boundaries around the things, people, habits, or activities that we are most prone to become enslaved to and controlled by.
Freedom lies on the other side of our obedience.
A communications major in college, Priscilla Shirer planned to be a TV news anchor—but God had other ideas. While interning at a Christian radio station in Houston, she began to receive invitations to do Bible studies at small women’s events. At only 18 she shared the simple truths of Scripture that she was studying during her quiet time, and she’s been in full-time ministry ever since. Priscilla is married to her best friend, Jerry. Together they have founded Going Beyond Ministries. Her desire is to see women come to a full understanding of who they are in Christ by hearing the uncompromising truth of Scripture. Jerry and Priscilla live in Dallas and take seriously their main role of parents to their three sons: Jackson, Jerry Jr., and Jude.