Ponder: In our first passage this week, Joshua succeeds Moses and will lead the people into the Promised Land, one flowing with milk and honey, and God reiterates that He goes before them into the unknown land. He tells them to be strong and courageous, to not fear or be in dread because He is with them and will never leave nor forsake them. Oh, what a wonderful promise for them and for us today!
God tells Joshua that at the end of every seven years His law must be read to all the people because this will allow them to HEAR and to FEAR the Lord their God. He tells them to throw a big party to REMEMBER and to REFOCUS their next seven years toward Him. In the law they were to read every seven years, He commanded them to observe a weekly sabbath, to enjoy a good gift from Him. In all these instructions, God gives Joshua a big hint about how badly the people would need to be reminded of His commands and promises because they would forget. We are a forgetful people by nature and often most so about the very things that give us life. So often we start a good thing and then turn back to toil as we get distracted or start to doubt God’s goodness and provision for our needs.
- What would it look like in my life to establish set times to HEAR and to FEAR, to REMEMBER and to REFOCUS?
Isaiah 58:13-14 talks about the Sabbath as a delight, a set time in which we keep our eyes on our Heavenly Father and His good gifts, not on our own desires and pleasures. He is jealous for us to truly REST and to be RESTORED in Him, not just put on a good act. Earlier in this chapter, the Lord reminds the prophet Isaiah that humankind tends toward hypocrisy in fasting and in resting and that true sacrifice isn’t about outward appearance but about a heart that is broken by personal sin, changed by the Redeemer, and then acting with compassion toward others.
- What is the posture of my heart toward observing the Lord’s holy day? Do I see the Sabbath as God’s favor upon me to enjoy His good gifts or as an entitlement to do as I desire?
- What do I want to change in my life in response to what I am reading, hearing, and wrestling with in this study on sabbath?
Pray: Heavenly Father, I praise You for speaking to Your people in days of old and to me today through these Scriptures on sabbath. By commanding me to rest some each week, You’ve shined favor upon me, giving me a gift, the permission to cease from toil and enjoy You, Your people, and Your world. But I acknowledge that I am forgetful and often return to my to-do list, to the chaos of my world and forget You. Show me how best to pause each day, each week, and in different seasons of my life to remember and to refocus on You. Teach me to delight in You each day. I delight to do Your pleasure. I love You, Lord.