Sacred Spaces -- 11/16/2019
12 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to [g]keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Most of us live busy lives that often feel crazy. But our lives are the only thing we have much control over. So how are you doing?
“Every time we turn to Christ in faith it is like a moment of Sabbath, a little foretaste of eternal rest and glory. The gift of that moment lies not in what we do but what we receive. It is the holy time set aside to receive the greatest gift of God ever has to give, which is himself, in his own beloved Son.”
― Phillip Cary, Good News for Anxious Christians: Ten Practical Things You Don't Have to Do
Our values are revealed every day. How?
Your money and your time.
The way we use our time tells us where our real priorities lie.
Time is not given to each of us in limitless supply. We only have a certain amount of time in each day. Our spent time cannot be brought back, and we understand that.
This command, this passage in front of us, is of great interest because God is clearly telling us that he expects us to use time in such a way that he is our number one priority; he expects us to set aside one day in seven for rest. It is a matter of great importance.
We wear busyness like a badge. Truthfully, the emphasis the moral law of God places on rest should make us pause, and reflect, and repent.
“The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man
There was a purpose to the Law, but the Law was NOT it’s own purpose.
The Law was never intended to be complete. As the Book of Hebrews puts it, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken by his Son whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" (Hebrews 1:11-12).
No one could keep the law; rather, the law was intended to lead us to the one who did keep it—Jesus—and who died for the law breakers like you and I. When we read the Old Testament, we are to read it as a book about Jesus. Nowhere is that more specifically true than in this fourth command.
Rest is a choice you make after you have done all you can do.
Look with me at Genesis 2:2-3: Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
If God needs a break from work, surely we do, right?
But God wasn’t tired. So why would he rest?
We must all learn the value of sacred space.
The ministry of Jesus wasn’t simply characterized by miracles… He was also known for finding quiet places of rest and prayer.
We can worship our work, idolize our hobbies.
Working non-stop can be a form of self-dependence?
Rest can be a type of worship. An acknowledgment that you were never able to build the house anyway.
Abraham builds four altars in his life. He is known as a builder of altars. We need altars in our lives. Sacred spaces.
A place of encounter
A place of forgiveness
A place of worship
A place of covenant
A place of intercession
“What it takes to build an altar are rocks, broken things. The geological application is relevant, there are volcanic explosions in our lives, seismic events, the grinding of life. You can take hard things and arrange them before the Lord or you can drag the rocks around and be burdened by them. Or when you’re frustrated at lugging them around, you get mad and throw them at somebody else. The way you build an altar is to bring those hard, broken things before the Lord and put them there.” Jack Hayford