“Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any” - Exodus 16:26 (NIV).
In 1789 France had a revolution which ended up removing the dominion of the church over state. France declared herself a secular state, which she remains today. However, the church’s influence on France still continues. On a visit to Paris once I happened to find that almost all business are closed on Sundays except for those providing emergency services, like some pharmacies and a few convenient stores. The French might have embraced secularism but they did not abandon all the good things that the church taught.
Genesis 2:2 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Taking after this in Judaism the seven day of the week, Sabbath, is set aside as a day of rest. After a full week of work the Sabbath is a time reserved for worship, reflection of God’s love, friends and families meeting to share and enjoy each other’s fellowship over a meal. Indeed, one Christian denomination, Seventh Day Adventist, has continued to insist on strictly observing this practice by followers.
This though contrasts with some places where perhaps the Bible has had little influence or its teachings have been ignored. Here in Uganda, in many places, business that used to be shut on Sunday, as an observation of a day of rest, are now kept fully open, full steam. While the purpose for this might be to make the business prosper, by adding on 48 extra days of work, evidence abounds that those business that take time off to recuperate from a week’s operation are far more sustainable. France, where business are closed on Sunday, boasts the seventh largest world economy.
During his time here on earth the religious leaders had turned the Sabbath into something else, that even when he healed a man on Sabbath who had been an invalid for thirty eight years, they protested, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” (John 5:12). As believers we should not go to these extreme, and for business, there are those that may need to keep their doors open on Sundays to provide an essential service. But the benefits of having one day in a week off to worship God, fellowship with the brethren, and enjoy family and friends companionship, are far superior.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I thank you for all the work you have given me, and I pray to observe one day in a week for rest and worship to you as thanksgiving, this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!