Isaiah 58:13-14 - Sabbath Day Delight
Will your Lord's Day activities make you even more tired, or will they bring you joy and delight?
Read / Listen
Read Isaiah 58:13-14
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 103
Q. What is God’s will for you
in the fourth commandment?
that the gospel ministry
and education for it
and that, especially on
the festive day of rest,
I regularly attend the assembly of God’s people
to learn what God’s Word teaches,
to participate in the sacraments,
to pray to God publicly,
and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.
that every day of my life
I rest from my evil ways,
let the Lord work in me through his Spirit,
and so begin already in this life the eternal Sabbath.
Early in Jesus' ministry with His disciples, the Pharisees think they've trapped Jesus in a 'gotcha' moment because He and the disciples picked a few heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus rejects their man-made rules, famously telling them that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27)."
Because the New Testament doesn't give a particular list of do's and don'ts as to how Christians ought to observe the Sabbath, it might be tempting after reading Jesus' reply to conclude that you can do whatever you like on the Sabbath day since it was made for you. But such a conclusion would be a costly mistake.
There are multiple, and often conflicting, Christian perspectives on how the Sabbath ought to be kept, even within Reformed circles. But our passage today makes clear that only those who "do not go their own way, and do not do as they please, or speak idle words" will truly benefit from this gift God has given to us.
Certainly, the Sabbath was given to us that we might "find our joy," but you won't find that joy "from doing as you please on God's holy day," rather, you'll "find your joy in the Lord."
What's your attitude regarding Sunday? Do you dread going to church, wishing you could spend your time on things that seem more enjoyable to you? Do you go to church simply out of obligation, since that's what you've done every Sunday since the day you were born? Are you looking forward to a day of genuine rest, or do you plan to fill it with so many activities that you'll be left more tired on Monday morning than what you were Friday afternoon?
Align your life with what God says here through Isaiah. Call "the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable." What mental, physical and spiritual adjustments must you make in order for you to honestly be able to look forward to the Lord's Day in this way?
Whatever changes you need to make will be worth it, for look at what your God promises those who find their joy in Him by keeping the Sabbath: He will "cause you to ride in triumph... and feast on your inheritance." God seeks to give you these gifts as you "attend the assembly of God's people to learn what God's Word teaches, to participate in the sacraments, to pray to God publically, and to bring Christian offerings to the poor (HC QA 103)."
You're likely reading this at the halfway point of the week. Start praying now that you will eagerly anticipate the coming Lord's Day and pray that God will help you do whatever you must in order to make the Sabbath your joy and delight.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who invites us to find our joy in Him;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you can let go of your desire to "do as you please" on the Lord's Day so that you can begin to "delight" in meeting with the saints and truly find joy as you rest in God's promises;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Timothy 2