When the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt, we know that their bosses were oppressive (read Exodus 1:1,14,). The situation seemed to keep getting worse (Exodus 5:7-8) and this concerned God (Exodus 3:7).
Every labour weekend we celebrate the 40 hour week, and weekends off.
Discuss : Are people still working 40 hour weeks and taking the weekend off. In the Jetson’s cartoon series, George Jetson works 2 days a week for 1 hour. Has technology had this effect on us ?
When God was forming the nation of Israel and giving them guidelines for not living like a slave. He said.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. Exodus 20:8–10 (NIV)
shabbat שַׁבָּת root means to “cease, desist or rest.”
Discuss : Who is the sabbath for ? God ? You? your servant ? Your donkey ? Is there a difference between a sabbath and one with direction “a Sabbath to the Lord” ? What might that look like ?
We are used to cellphones now. We are used to them running out of capacity, and having to recharge them Read some of the warning signs of capacity overload.
1.an inability to control your emotions.
2.Lack of self- care (No exercise,eating badly, living off caffeine…)
4.Chronic lateness (trying to squeeze in too much)
5.Self medicating and excess (Drink, chocolate , other)
6.Neglecting important relationship.
Discuss : If your life was a cellphone…How would your capacity meter be ?
How charged is your battery ?
We are given some clues about why the sabbath matters.
1 ) It is what our God is like (God rested) (Exodus 20:11)
2 ) It reminds us we are not slaves (Deut 5:15)
3 ) God rested and was refreshed ! (Ex 31:17), Also read Ex 23:12
The hebrew word for refreshed is to “Re Self”.
Discuss : Why do you think we have to remind ourselves that we are not slaves ?Do you ever feel depleted, like you need to re-self ? How might resting do that ?
If the pattern is WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK REST ? How are you doing at it ?
Marva Dawn suggests that Sabbath is a time for :
Ceasing (from work, anxiety, worry, possessiveness etc)
Resting (resting the body and mind)
Embracing (Deliberately taking hold of Christian values & practises)
Feasting (celebrating life, celebrating God)
She suggests it’s a day to do what you want to do, not what you ought to do. (reminding yourself that you are not a slave).
In a world that is driven to more and more and more work, Walter Brueggemann suggests Sabbath becomes a decisive, concrete, visible way of opting for and aligning with the God of rest.
A bunch of Practical suggestions
Have a date with God
Turn off your technology, cellphone, computer etc.
Don’t read your email, or Facebook one day a week.
Plan something fun
Have an unrushed meal with others.
Take some time in prayer asking “How can I have a Sabbath “towards God”. Journal your thoughts.
REST REST REST.
Read a Psalm (just one), then go for a walk.
Come up with your own ideas…. Then pull out your diary and make a date !
This sermon has avoided focusing on which day. Both as a result of Jesus’ unwillingness to be legalistic about it (Mark 2:27-28) and of Paul’s willingness to show flexibility (Roman 14:5-6).