Joyful on the Sabbath

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 58:13-14

As I came upon the above verses yesterday, I realized I had not blogged on the Sabbath for a while and therefore thought I should probably consider the words of Isaiah as I spent my Sabbath today. If you read these lines from Isaiah carefully, the Lord lets it be known that on the sabbath we need to be purposeful to avoid things that bring pleasure and honor to us above what will bring pleasure and honor to Him.

I have to admit it is difficult at times to discern if a certain activity is bringing honor and pleasure to me or to God, especially when I enjoy doing some of those activities which bring honor and pleasure to Him. In days gone by it would have been shameful to even consider finding pleasure in a solemn sabbath activity. All such activities were instead to be done with a somber expression and a religious disposition. Thankfully in our modern era, and with our fuller understanding of God's intent of the sabbath and the activities we are to commit ourselves to observing on it, personal joy is not considered a determining factor in weighing out acceptable holy day reverence.

Today for instance, I was able to sing a special song to our congregation that a few of the worship team members and I have been working on for the past two weeks. After the service, a woman made the comment to me that I looked like I was having so much fun as I sang my heart out to this wonderful song – and she was right, I did enjoy it thoroughly. But the catalyst of my joy was not because the song sought to bring me honor and pleasure, but rather because it was sang to the Lord to bring honor and pleasure to Him. I know our performance was all the more enhanced by what God supplied us as we worshiped Him in song and it pleased His ears as we used the gifts He had given each of us to come together and sing for His glory.

“...for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

The Sabbath must not be taken in the black and white context of "all for God" and "none for me", when God's intention for the Sabbath is that we always seek to find how we can find communion with Him and share in His joy not live in disconnect from it. I hope that your Sabbath today brought you much joy as you sought to honor and please the Lord who has given you the ability to be joyful in many things and the gifts to that help you share in that joy with Him.

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