40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.  The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.  In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.  On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” (Exodus 16:4 – 6)

29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days.  Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.”  30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16:29 – 30)

 

Next week, we will experience a special time together as we have done every year, focusing on Jesus and Passion/Holy Week.  We have one final Discipline to review though, the Discipline of Sabbath.  As we have done with the prior 10 Disciplines, we will consider how we can practice this Discipline to minister to a world in need.

One of the reasons this Discipline is very important is because the world needs to know that God can be trusted.  By practicing the Discipline of Sabbath, we demonstrate how trustworthy God is.

Our focus is not on a particular day of the week. Instead, we encourage the practice of “resting” – taking time off from work at regular intervals.  By doing so, we communicate priority (God is first) and dependency (God is sufficient).

Please prayerfully read the passages above and consider the question below.

 

Question

What opportunities do you see for using your sabbath rest as a testimony to others of your dependency on God?

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  11The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10 – 11)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Sabbath.  As we consider this Discipline, our focus is not on a particular day of worship.  Instead, we are considering the practice of ceasing from day-to-day activities to rest.  Adherence to this practice is wholly consistent with our theme of God’s Glory because we foster greater dependence on God and deeper reflection on who He is.  In the passage above, the Hebrew word for “still” has the connotation of weakness, release, or in more popular parlance, “chilling out”.  These words all point to a posture of dependency.  This is very counter-cultural but God knows us the best and we should trust His prescription.  It will work for our good and for His glory.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.

 

Question:

Do you consistently take a break from day-to-day activities as a sign of your dependence on God?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:3)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 2 9 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 – 30)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Sabbath, which involves a commitment to setting aside a day of rest.  While we are no longer under the law, the principle of ceasing activity to rest is still relevant.  We are no longer bound to a particular day but remember that our creator knows us best, and He instituted the practice of a day of rest.

Even as we contemplate the importance of physical rest, it is worthwhile to also reflect on spiritual rest as described in Matthew 11.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible passages above.

 

Something to think about:

Would you be identified as the type of person that practices regularly getting out of the rat race?  Describe one way you have benefitted from spiritual rest.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.  31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”   32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:30-32)

 

It is hard to believe that we are almost down to only one more week (Holy Week) of this journey. The commentaries in response to each day’s posting have been excellent so far, including yesterday.  Thanks!

Today we address the Discipline of the Sabbath. There is the potential for confusion with this Discipline so I’ll make a clarifying statement before we get to our Dear Libby letter.  This Discipline does not call for a legalistic adherence to a specific day of rest as was stipulated in the Old Testament.  However, it does recognize the benefits of habitually taking time off to rest. With this as context, we will consider a question to Libby from Chester.

As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing. Libby is not expected to be an expert. Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences.  So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself.  Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.

Please review the Bible passages above and Chester’s challenge below.

 

Dear Libby,

I am aware that there is now no legalistic prescription for a weekly day of rest. However, the principle of taking regular time off certainly makes sense to me from spiritual, physical and mental perspectives. The problem is that I can’t seem to get off the treadmill of life. To make matters worse, e-mails, the internet and other digital mediums make the ability to “get away” almost impossible for me. I am predominantly consumed with work activity but sometimes home and even church activities also add to the rat race. So, the idea of regularly spending a day without distraction, focusing on God, my family or other non-work related activities is a very foreign concept. How have you accomplished regularly taking the time to rest Libby? I would be very interested in your thoughts and useful tips.

 

 Always going,

Chester

 

Today’s Question:

What thoughts would you like to share with Chester?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  (Mark 6:30-32)

 

In our review of the Disciplines of Spiritual Warfare and Counsel over the last four days we acknowledged that the two disciplines are not as popular as other Disciplines such as Prayer and Bible Study.  Well, the Discipline of the Sabbath also falls in the not so popular category.  This Discipline reminds us of the need to set aside a day for rest.  It is not a legalistic requirement but we can benefit greatly from the practicing this Discipline.  As we have done for all the other Disciplines we will examine how Jesus practiced the Discipline.

Please carefully read the passages above and answer the questions below.

Today’s Questions:

  1. Do you struggle with the concept of a day of rest?
  2. How might our spiritual walk suffer from the absence of a day of rest?