In Nehemiah 13, we read that the people were once again not keeping the Sabbath. Today, people do not understand the importance of the Sabbath. Many people consider that since most places are open on Sundays, that we need not celebrate the Sabbath. Some people may consider the Sabbath something people celebrated during “the time of the Bible,” but not something that we need continue nowadays.
I love the Sabbath and thank God for this great gift. The Sabbath was instituted since Creation. It is something that is part of Creation. Consider the rhythms of the world that God has created. Part of the Creation was active, but then there was rest. This is how we were created, as we are part of Creation. We need to have a rhythm of life, where there is an active working part, and then a time of rest. I typically celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, but there are moments when I preach or teach, that I celebrate another day. Understand the Sabbath is about having that day of rest with God.
God gave us the Sabbath as a gift. We should show gratitude for this gift, and we should also want to celebrate the gift. This is a time we can get ourselves realigned with the Father. This is a time we can get ourselves refueled for the next week. This is a time we can grow closer to God. This is a time when we can fellowship with the Lord without distractions. This is a time of rest, reconnection, and renewal. Be sure that you take a day this week, and celebrate the Sabbath! Continue this rhythm in your life each week. You will come to realize the importance of this special, holy day.
“They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day” – Exodus 16:29 [NLT]
Gift of Sleep
For many years of my life I had a problem sleeping. I had very bad insomnia. Then I worked night shift for many years because if I couldn’t sleep at night, at least I could be productive. This crazy schedule changed my mind’s understanding of sleep. It was almost like I forgot how to sleep. On some days I was lucky to get an hour or two of sleep. It was horrible. I tried different methods in hopes of getting sleep. I took pills. I drank herbal tea. I listened to music. The list goes on and on.
God made us as beings who need rest. We cannot keep pushing ourselves along without sleep and still function properly. We need to rest. We need sleep. It’s a fact. Yet in society, we see more products introduced to help keep us awake longer. Rather than rest, people speak of taking the energy drinks—the Monsters and the 5 Hour Energy Drinks are very popular. People want to stay up for long periods of time. They have work to do—overtime to complete, projects to finish, etc. Rather than sleep, people believe enough caffeine will be satisfactory.
The Psalmist reminds us that God wants us to sleep—“He gives to His beloved sleep.” That’s YOU! He gives you sleep. “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest.” There should be no reason to get up real early and then go to bed in the wee hours of the night. Rest is important. It refuels us. It strengthens us. It revitalizes us. And it’s a gift—a gift from God. So tonight, accept this gift of sleep. If you’re having problems getting settled in, put it in God’s hands and in time may you find the joy of rest that I found after I gave my insomnia to God. My many sleepless nights are a distant memory—each night I am able to close my eyes and thank God for His great gift.
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” – Psalm 127:2 [ESV]
We all have moments when we are not at our best—moments we would like to erase from our memory. The other day I had one of those moments. I could make excuses and say I was run down, tired, in pain and all of them are true; however, there was a way around the mess that arose. Sadly we so often make that mental note after the fact.
The problems that arose involved three big factors—two that I already mentioned. Firstly, I was in pain. Secondly, I was tired. Pain and exhaustion cause us to react differently than we usually act. You are more sensitive, less patient, more irritable. Thirdly, I had things bottled up. A few weeks prior, things had occurred that I did not get to yet discuss so they were still sitting there in the pot. Oh what a pot that boiled over that evening.
Yes, we all have the moments. Thankfully I have a lot less of them. Today, remember to address things right away. Don’t bottle things up so they can boil over later. Be sure to get the rest your body needs. If you are in pain or distress, address that as well. Don’t leave any room for the devil to stir up a boiling pot so it boils over.
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” – Psalm 127:2 [NLT]
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 [NLT]