If you keep from desecrating the Sabbath, from doing whatever you want on My holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, seeking your own pleasure, or talking too much; then you will delight yourself in the Lord. (Isaiah 58:13-14a)
There’s a lot to sift through here. We can easily get stuck in the legalism of what exactly “desecrating the Sabbath” means, or what if my definition of “delight” is different from someone else’s? But there are definitely some guidelines:
- Keep from doing whatever you want. (Not that you have to do everything you don’t want to do, but just take a step outside yourself and let God guide. That still includes a huge space in which to roam.)
- Don’t go your own way or seek your own pleasure. (See same note as above. It doesn’t mean you don’t get to have any fun. God is not a prison warden.)
- Don’t talk too much. (We fill a lot of space and time with unnecessary words. God is consistent with this instruction regardless of the day. He must think it’s a good idea.)
So many people set aside the concept and practice of Sabbath. I’ve heard a litany of excuses that are rooted in misunderstandings. I think we let those misconceptions get in our way. We want an easy out, because Sabbath requires sacrifice, and sacrifice is difficult. We’ve seen people claim some really odd things about Sabbath, and most often those things are a long list of what we can’t do, but it’s time to move beyond that. Look and search and practice beyond that. Because when you set aside the legalism, there is so much freedom and rest and joy in Sabbath.
I lean toward constancy. I generally live life leaning forward. It’s my bend. So to take a deep breath and lean back takes effort. It’s been worth the change. It doesn’t come easy, but it becomes worthwhile.