If thou dost turn from the sabbath thy foot, from doing thine own pleasure on My holy day, and hast cried to the sabbath, ‘A delight;’ to the holy of Jehovah, ‘Honoured,’ and hast honoured it, without doing thine own ways, without finding thine own pleasure, and speaking a word, then dost thou delight thyself on Jehovah, and I have caused thee to ride on high places of earth, and have caused thee to eat the inheritance of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken!

Isaiah 58:13-14


While reading the Young’s Literal Translation of the bible more frequently, I’ve been surprised at how similar the language is in some places to colloquial and slang phrases. I don’t just mean the evidently hyperbolic usage of Elizabethan English in terms like, “shooketh,” but also in the way the words are ordered . . . sentences the youth are stringing together like ‘what even is this?‘; phrases Jehovah expresses in this chapter of Isaiah such as ‘… like this is the fast that I choose?‘ Today it had me thinking that some people, and especially younger people, may actually find this translation to be surprisingly readable/relatable. Besides that, I love that it isn’t paraphrased. Paraphrases can be helpful, but at the end of the day God said what He said. And He meant it.

. . . which is why I have become a student of stillness and rest and sabbath. Scripturally speaking, God takes the sabbath very seriously. The old covenant consequences associated with not honoring the sabbath are nothing short of death. Which, if you think about it, is also the natural consequence of not resting.

I never quite understood the way I grew up seeing Sunday happen. Which was supposedly a day of rest, but started early and often involved multiple church services and cooking and serving elaborate meals and feeling worn by the end of it all. In some ways, the pharisees had a similar complaint towards Jesus . . . that He ‘did work’ on the sabbath. Not withstanding their haterade, I have the same question . . . what does it look like to honor the sabbath, given the planet we inhabit?

Over the years, I’ve heard some really helpful teaching about the sabbath and the rest that is offered to us as spoken of in Hebrews 4, and about the ways that honoring the sabbath requires faith, and in antiquity was a testament to the other nations that the Hebrew people were relying on their God to sustain them.

Lately, I’ve been re-reading An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling, and listening to some really great sermons on the Kingdom that were delivered by Keith Moore at Faith Life Church.

When I first read An Unhurried Life last year, the primary principle I walked away with was that Jesus was able to live an unhurried life despite the urgency of His mission and the short amount of time in which it needed to be accomplished because He was completely yielded to the Father’s will. He had died to Himself long before He gave up His life in the crucifixion.

Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.

John 4:34

… I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgement is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.

John 5:30

… For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.

John 6:38

… But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

In the practical outworking of my pursuit of the Kingdom I have often times fixated too much on first. But the spirit of what Jesus is saying there is instead . . . which is how this episode is recorded in Luke’s gospel:

And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His Kingdom and these things will be added to you.

To give it an Elizabethan spin – Seek {not anything other than} the Kingdom.

I have found myself accumulating eventuallys . . . a growing list in my back pocket of things I hope I can get to when I ‘finish’ seeking the Kingdom. Ha. When you put it like that, it’s ridiculous, but I think it’s significant. Jesus wasn’t hurried because He didn’t have anywhere else to be, and there was – ultimately – nothing He’d rather be doing than the will of God.

I am most interruptible when I completely surrender what I had in mind to do with the day . . . when I’m not trying to get home in time to . . . do mine own ways. I am most generous when I am least committed to/fixated on the purchases and expenses I had in mind to make and cover. I am most emotionally and mentally available when I’m least concerned with recharging or even creating. I am most like Jesus when I think the least about me. Ha. HE>i . . . like all the stickers and merch I’ve acquired.

To honor the sabbath, especially in this age, is to be entirely available to God’s agenda. Jesus modeled this by healing on the sabbath, and His whole life was actually this way.

To live in the day of Grace is glorious; it’s rest and it’s good news and it is seeking the Kingdom and not our own interests. If every day is sabbath, I don’t have to toil the way unbelievers do . . . and my days are not mine to decide what to do with.

In Isaiah {and everywhere, really} God is connecting rest to prosperity. But it’s a prosperity that is connected to His purposes. We don’t need to be healed so we can sit on the couch and binge netflix. We don’t need more money so that we can practice covetousness or somehow outgrow reliance on God. We need to be healed so that we can labor in and for the Kingdom. We need resources so that we’re not reliant on this world’s systems which not only don’t care about God’s Kingdom, but are actually in opposition to it. If you don’t own anything, you don’t get to decide what it’s used for and you’re beholden to and at the mercy of the person who does own it.

We demonstrate what we would do with more by what we are doing right now. If we want more of something from God and don’t have it, it’s worth examining what we’re doing with what He’s already given. Time, energy, and resources really are gifts. God is not going to force us to invest what He gives us into His Kingdom. Our will is a gift. We get to choose what and who we will love, and where our treasure will be.

By turning away from our own ways and our own pleasure, we are declaring that as God increases us, we will not become wasters of time or reservoirs of resources. More than just being willing, we have to be sensitive enough to hear the Holy Spirit when He prompts us to do something. That kind of sensitivity requires a slower inner pace than most of us are used to.

In the brilliance of God’s instruction and design, living ‘unhurried’ as a rhythm of life, allows us to be consistently recharged and receptive to the pleasures that He provides. Even this provision is most readily enjoyed through sensitivity to His voice. I am continually thankful that God fathers us with intimacy and specific attention. There have been times in recent weeks when I felt His correcting suggestion to conceal my devices and sit outside with one of the chunky design- or cook- books full of crisp and inspiring images that I ‘just so happened to come across’ for pennies on the dollar. He knows how I am put together, and that 9 times out of 10 the rest I am searching for is not going to be found in Instagram’s search feature. As much as I enjoy a good internet chuckle, I don’t find true refreshment if I linger longer than the laughs do.

When I live unhurried throughout the week and choose my moments more wisely, I don’t get to the weekend with a frantic sense of scarcity. If I have chosen quiet, analog moments over scrolling and mental junk food, I don’t feel the need to prioritize curating aesthetic moments on the sabbath, and can joyfully do the work of the Kingdom . . . making myself entirely available to God’s agenda and the people He puts in front of me to love.

I think what I have realized and am trying to convey is that honoring the sabbath has to be a lifestyle. As recipients of the new covenant, a compartmentalized approach is completely dysfunctional. As disciples of Jesus our entire lives {evidenced by and accessed via our yielded wills} are required if we are really going to walk with Him.

But you guys, we get to walk with Rest. We get the greater and most willing fulfillment of what Moses requested . . . God’s Spirit will go with us and He will give us rest.

We get Emmanuel.

. . . & & // selah

C O M M E N T S

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