What about investing in a ‘summer Sabbath’? Part 3: Faith
Having considered the roots of Sabbath rest in creation and the exodus redemption, Simon continues our series by looking at how Sabbath rest can grow our faith.
Sabbath challenges us to grow our faith
As God went on to reveal His perfect law to His people He threw in a few curve-balls! One of them, in my opinion, is the Sabbath Year (Leviticus 25:1-7).
Remember from last time how the Sabbath gave rest for every person and animal? Well, here in Leviticus God establishes the need for the land to have rest and, quite simply, a day a week is not enough. Instead, God states that the land needs to be left fallow for a whole year once every seven years. These Sabbath Years will allow the land to rest and recover in order to remain fruitful. The Sabbath Year is to form part of man’s commission to care for creation.
Can you imagine that? If you are a farmer or a person who lives in a society which relies on the land producing the food you are going to eat next, not using the land for a whole year presents a huge challenge. It means that your trust cannot be placed in the productivity of the land or the quality of seed or the skill and hard work of the farmer. It has to be placed elsewhere.
Faith for provision
Since it was God’s plan, faith must be placed in Him for provision. The logic ran something like, ‘Just as in the desert God provided a double portion of manna to cover the Sabbath, so here He will provide a double harvest to cover the Sabbath Year.’ A whole year!
Every seven years, a whole year of trusting that God will provide. This will take faith.
So surely for us the Sabbath rest should provide us with a similar opportunity to cut across our culture of self-reliance? Surely part of the principle of resting must remind us that everything we have and need comes from the hand of our Father who generously provides for us? Our Sabbath rest should remind us that worrying about earthly priorities of what we should eat or drink or wear is a distracting anxiety and instead our focus should be on our heavenly Father.
Every time we rest, we lay aside our reliance on ourselves, our programmes, our hard work, our reputation, and give ourselves an opportunity to exercise our faith. That problem can wait until Monday. That email can be ignored while I rest. My boss is important, but my Heavenly Father takes priority.
As we take our Sabbath rest there is an opportunity for us to exercise our faith by laying aside our worry and throwing ourselves onto Him.
Pause for thought:
Read Matthew 6:25-34
1. Check your attitude. Are you self-reliant? Do you think that if you don’t keep up whatever performance you are doing that things will fall over and go wrong? Are these thoughts affecting your attitude towards Sabbath rest? If so, spend some time aside with the Father. Repent and enjoy His embrace.
2. Are you anxious about things and do you cope by not allowing yourself to rest? Read the passage from Matthew 6:25-34 again and also Matthew 11:28-20. If God called the whole nation to a Sabbath Year, how much more can He provide for you? Come and rest awhile.
The final part will be published on Friday