- “It took the early church 300 years of routine righteousness to finally bring the Roman Empire to its knees.” _Joseph M. Stowell, Shepherding the Church into the 21st Century
- “The difference between a hunter and a sportsman is that the hunter regrets the killing blow.” _David L. Kemp (Inspired by Richard Wilbur’s poem, Castles and Distances – stanza 4 and my study of Genesis 9:4)
Leviticus 17:3-7 (NKJV)
3 “Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people, 5 to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to the LORD.
6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet aroma to the LORD.”
One of the greatest struggles with living a “Sabbath life” is remembering why Sabbath matters. Taking a day each week and declaring it a Sabbath or taking brief moments in your day to celebrate a Sabbath pause must never be confused with just taking a “day off” or “taking a break”.
What Sabbath does in our lives is akin to what today’s bible passage is about. The people in Moses’ day were instructed to bring any animals that they were going to kill to the tabernacle of meeting (church) and kill them there in the presence of God.
Most of us are so far removed from farm life that we’ve never intentionally killed any animal. But those of you that grew up on a farm can remember the days when this morning’s sausage was running around in the barnyard a few days earlier; that was just a part of life.
The issue being addressed here is that we must never allow the normal routine of life to lose its sacredness. For example in this passage the shedding of blood was not to be taken lightly (see my “hunter quote” above). God was reminding a man about to kill an animal to feed his family that all life was God-given and not to be taken lightly.
If we are not careful we can allow our “spiritual life” to become separated from the rest of life. We can easily find ourselves doing the “God thing” in the morning and then walk out the door and give very little if any thought to what we reflected on during our time of prayer and devotions. But God sees all of life as sacred. Your labor on Monday matters to God just as your worship on Sunday. Your blood, sweat, and tears spent on providing a living for yourself and your family during the week must never be seen as separate from your worship and rest time on the weekend.
So just as bringing the animals that were to be butchered to the tabernacle of meeting reminded the people of the connection between their worship and their work, practicing a Sabbath life connects what we do the other six days with
Taking a Sabbath is not just a “day off”, it is declaring one day a week sacred unto God where we bring the labor of our hands and heart to him with thanksgiving and gratitude. Practicing a Sabbath life is saying I will not be defined by my work; I will be defined by my relationship with God.
So today as you are going about your daily life, remember, you will be bringing your words and deeds before the Lord on your Sabbath day. Make sure that you have not spilt your blood and sweat and your words and deeds on things that you would not want to bring into the presence of the Lord God.
Bottom line, declaring the seventh day holy unto the Lord sanctifies the other six days as well.
May God’s blessings go with you,