Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing Ancient Practices. The text that has inspired this series is Jeremiah 6:16, which says, “Stand and the crossroads and look; ask for the Ancient Paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.”
Over the past few weeks, we have talked about the art of constant prayer, fasting, the liturgical year and pilgrimages. These are each terrific practices that enable us to deepen our relationship with Jesus and become more effective disciples. This week we have a look at the Sabbath.
What is the Sabbath?
Read Genesis 2:2-3
Does God get tired? If not, what do you think He did on this day of rest?
Read the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)
Why do you think that this is the commandment that we are most likely to leave out?
Read Mark 2:27
If the Sabbath was made for man, what benefits are there?
Read Colossians 2:13-17,
If we are no longer under law, but grace, why should we follow the principle of the Sabbath?
Read Hebrews 4:9-11,
What does it mean to enter God’s rest?
Why do we need the Sabbath?
A study was done by University of South Australia in July 2010. From the results it was found that:
• In 2008, 20% of the Australian workforce work over 48 hours a week, and in 2010 over 25% Australian workforce work over 48 hours a week.
• Nearly half of all men, and 60% of women feel constantly time pressed
• Poor work-life outcomes are associated with poor health, higher use of prescription medications, more stress and a greater level of dissatisfaction with relationships.
• 60% of workers stockpile their leave and don’t take proper holidays.
What are some of the factors in your life that contribute to you being time-pressed?
Read Isaiah 58:13-14
How does practicing the Sabbath give us joy in the Lord?
What do we do about the Sabbath?
On the first Sabbath, that’s what God did, he sat back and reflected on all that He had made and it was good!
Be Grateful and Joyful.
The Sabbath is a day to reflect on God’s hand over your life in the past and to anticipate His goodness in the week ahead. You can’t truly taste the delights of the Sabbath if you have bitterness in your mouth.
As we’ve already heard, the Sabbath was made for us, not us for the Sabbath. This is a gift that we are responsible for opening, but not in a prescribed, legalistic way, but in a joyful, playful, excited, ebullient, awe-struck, enthusiastic, delighted manner.
You need to plan for a Sabbath. You need to put time aside if you’re going to do it right. Life will encroach on your time with the Lord if you’re not locking away time in your diary and making it a non-negotiable priority.
If you are not in the habit of practicing the Sabbath on a weekly basis, it may feel unusual at first. Stick with it. Don’t give up just because you don’t know.
Sample Discussion Questions
1. What changes do you need to make to your routine to ensure that you can benefit from the Sabbath?
2. What’s your ideal Sabbath day?
3. What’s stopping you from making that a reality?