This is God’s final instructions to Moses THIS time on the mountain. This seems like a small thing to focus on but it means a LOT to God.
Of all the things God instructed the people to do and to not do, this one God chose above all else to focus on. I had to stop and think about that for a while. No, that’s not why I have been absent for a few days; demands on my life got in the way. But why would God choose observing the Sabbath as the “Above all” for His chosen people and what does that mean for me today?
In any relationship, when the parties forego spending time with each other the relationship dies. This is just as true with our relationship with God. If we don’t take the time to focus on Him we grow stale. He doesn’t change but His place in our hearts and lives does.
This reminds me of a marriage relationship. The first thing that comes to mind is how we treat one another and honor the special days of the other. The wife is usually the one who remembers the special days and she may have more of them she considers special than the man does, but you can bet their anniversary and birthdays stand out for her. If her husband consistently forgets or chooses not to honor these days, there is going to be trouble. Once in a while forgetting is a normal human thing. We all get busy, but choosing to regard the day as of no significance communicates something profound about the relationship.
I have a confession to make here. I tend to downplay these days in my home. Not because I don’t think they are special but because my husband’s memory doesn’t allow him to keep them in his mind. I LOVE when he remembers and says happy birthday or happy anniversary to me, but I try not to become hurt if he doesn’t. I make sure and drop hints the day of and do a kind of reminder countdown for several days before. I do the same reminder countdown with his birthday or he would forget it too. We seldom make a big deal about the days though as he feels “guilty” for not being able to get out and get me a gift. I don’t need gifts, just his love.
God wants His people to at LEAST remember Him on His day. He is the One who is responsible for giving us life. He created the whole world for us. He set time in motion so we could have days and seasons. He called us to Himself. And He sent His own Son to make that happen. But I’m getting ahead of our story. Let’s back up and look at what He did for Israel alone.
Creation and life still falls on Israel’s list but there is so much more that is current and fresh for this group, or it should be. God has recently performed some of the biggest miracles since creation for this group of people. Rescuing Noah and company from the flood benefitted all mankind but His latest acts focused on the people He had made a promise to several generations before.
In the past year alone, God had sent plagues on Egypt to the degree that they drove the people out WITH WEALTH. This group of slaves wasn’t just emancipated, they were sent out a wealthy people. Then He had stopped their enemies in their tracks by doing for them something never before imagined. He led them through the sea ON DRY LAND then drowned their pursuers right behind them. Then He gave them food on a DAILY basis. He also provided them water FROM A ROCK. Most recently He has sent His visible presence and spoken to them in mass.
This group is not one that has only heard stories and has to rely on second hand accounts. This group has LIVED daily in the center of God’s fingerprints. They have seen His wonders with their own eyes and even tasted on their lips HIS provisions. THEY SHOULD HONOR HIM! He has MORE than earned the right to this request.
One day a week, stop all that you are doing. One day a week, sit and reflect on where your life, strength, and safety comes from. One day a week, take the time to say thank You. One day a week, give honor where honor is due. One day a week, work on your relationship. One day a week, respect the one simple request He has made.
This isn’t the fullness of the relationship God wanted with His people or with us but it is the bare minimum. If they won’t commit to this one simple task how can He trust them to move into the deeper things He has for them, and us? “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Confession time again. My husband and I don’t attend church. We sometimes get to go to a “Sunday School class” that meets at a local retirement home but my husband’s physical limitations don’t make Sunday services possible. His pain has been eliminated but his exhaustion and cognitive issues still limit us. Sundays pass without much more fanfare than birthdays and anniversaries do in our home. As I work from home, weekends don’t even look different from weekdays. It’s no wonder he doesn’t recognize them. So we choose our honoring time a different way. This is my way. I try to do it daily but other commitments and my husband’s needs sometimes get in the way. Another way we “sit and reflect” is through song. He moves my spirit to sing in good times and bad. Songs of joy and songs of promise fill our home regularly. As I write this I realize there hasn’t been much singing lately. THAT HAS TO CHANGE.
I want to get back to the question of “What does God’s final instructions to Moses require from us today?” When God gave Moses this mandate, He meant for His chosen people to stop all their work on the last day of the week and take time to reflect on Him. This was the Sabbath, Saturday. This was ONE act that showed they still honored Him in some way. You can’t think about someone’s special day without thinking about them. Today, most Christians observe the first day of the week, Sunday, as special to Him. This is because this is the day of the week Jesus rose on. I honestly don’t believe God cares which days you choose, just so long as you choose to set aside time to reflect on Him and to be with Him. For His chosen people it had to be regimented in so they would have some portion of the promise they were to hold to in order to keep the relationship alive. Our relationship needs commitment too, however that plays out in your week. God SPECIFICALLY said for Israel to observe the SABBATH. In today’s world so many people work several part time jobs and work weekends that completely resting on one set day of the week isn’t possible. But what we can ALL do is set some time aside for Him and our relationship building. NO relationship thrives or survives indifference.
Father God, I’m sorry I haven’t put aside time the last few days. I did remember our time together and even attempted to initiate our alone time but so many other things got in my way. I know, excuses are like arm pits. We all have them and they stink! Thank You that I know I can come to You with my failures and You will forgive me and help me rise again from them.
Thank You for the ability to help my family is so many different ways. Help me rise past the pain and back into singing again. I recognized that the songs have been gone nearly the same time as the pain has been here. Please address both in my life Lord. Thank You for time this morning to sit and reflect on our relationship. I want You to be front and center in my life, not simply waiting for the “least” I can do. I want our relationship to be “above all!”