DayBreaks for 2/06/18: Sanctifying Time
From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:
In his book, The Rest of God, in which Mark Buchanan talks about Sabbath, he mentions the need for us to be engaged in “sanctifying time.” It might seem strange when you think about it: after all, aren’t we sanctified? If people are sanctified, how can you “sanctify time”? And what would that mean?
The word “sanctify” in the Hebrew is the word that means “to betroth”. Let that sink in for a second. Betrothal – like Mary and Joseph. Pledged to be married. Committed to be married to that one person and no one else. To be “set apart” for that one person that you love and who loves you. Now, take that concept and apply it to time – especially “Sabbath time.” Sabbath – rest – was a requirement. It was up there with the other 9 commandments that formed the Decalogue. None of us would dare to think too lightly of the commands “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”, or “Thou shalt not murder”, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, “Thou shalt not steal,” etc. Yet we tend to think that somehow this command of God to observe a time of rest is a minor command compared to the rest of the 10. God sure doesn’t seem to think so.
God instituted the idea of rest, of a period of time that we are to “set apart”, to betroth ourselves to if you will, because He created us from dust and He knows we are not able to keep going forever like He can without getting tired. He knows how close we are at any given moment to returning to the dust from which we came – it is we who lack that awareness more often than not. And because of that, God said: “Rest.”
And so what is the purpose for the resting? There are numerous things, but for now, we are to “set apart, betroth” a certain period of time to rest…and worship. What did Israel do on the Sabbath? They celebrated God, His blessings, His greatness…they worshipped Him for all He was worth. That’s why such a strong word as “betrothal” is used to paint the picture of Sabbath…we are to be betrothed to those kinds of things as we rest. Does that mean we have to go to church when we’re resting? Absolutely not (even though from time to time during one of my sermons I’ll catch people ‘resting’ in their chairs)! You can worship God at your desk at work, laying in the hammock, lounging by the pool, sitting in the shade with some lemonade and a good book – you can worship and reflect on Him anywhere.
The problem with our leisure (what we think of as our day of rest) is that they’re not very leisurely at all. We run into them pell-mell and without reservation – and we wind up more tired than when we started. But the worst thing about it is that we usually leave God entirely out of our thinking at those times. We’ve left the Holy out of our day of rest.
When is the last time you betrothed yourself to a time of rest and reflection on the One who has given you each day of your life and filled it with wondrous things? We need that kind of rest!
PRAYER: Father, that you that you know our frailties and our deepest needs, including our need to rest in You. Help us to sanctify time spent with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.