Session 9: The Ultimate Connection to God
1. How important is work?
- Work is an inevitable part of life - it’s necessary, but unfortunately not always fulfilling (at least according to a Forbes report / survey - http://bit.ly/worktimewasters). On the other hand, people can take work too far, like Moritz Erhardt who worked himself literally to death (http://bit.ly/moritzerhardt)
- The Bible does talk about work; in fact, it’s one of the first things that God commanded Adam and Eve to do (Genesis 2:15). He never wanted us to be idle (Proverbs 6:6,9), but we are meant to be productive in our work (Genesis 1:28). The important thing is finding our balance.
- Statistics show that society is far from finding this balance, especially as it pertains to God what with the amount of time that is being spent on television - http://www.statisticbrain.com/television-watching-statistics/.
2. Connecting with God
- God of course wants us to connect with Him (Psalm 46:10), which we do through the Word (Romans 10:17, 1 John 1:1) and by prioritizing Him first (Matthew 6:33-34). Time with God is important.
- We can reason through astronomy how to calculate a day (Earth’s rotation on its axis), a month (rotation of the Moon around the Earth) and even a year (rotation of the Earth around the Sun), but not for a week.
- In fact, the French and the Soviet Union both tried to change the 7 day week to 10 days (France in 1793), and to 5 and then 6 days (Soviet Union from 1931-1940), but both eventually had to switch back.
- In built within us, and even nature itself is a 7 day week cycle that traces all the way back to Creation (Genesis 1, 2). Note also that a day in the Bible starts from evening to evening (Genesis 1:5, Luke 24:29).
- On the seventh day God ended His work and rested. He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; this was the Sabbath which was created for man (Mark 2:27). It was created as a day where we can connect and find “delight in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13,14).
- This day was so important that God wrote it with His own finger into the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).
3. Built for a seven day cycle
- Human beings are inherently built for a seven day cycle; in addition to what’s already been mentioned, science has shown that the human body doesn’t just follow a circadian (daily), circatrigintan (monthly) and circannual (yearly) rhythm, but there’s also an inbuilt circaseptan (weekly) rhythm. Slides 41-42 as found at http://kingscliff.adventist.org.au/ancientwords9 has a list of all the journal / medical articles that discusses this. Especially interesting is Cornelissen’s article which discusses how positive emotions are at their highest and negative emotions are at their lowest on Saturdays.
- Jesus Himself, even in death, rested on Saturday, the seventh day (Luke 23:52-56) before rising on the first day of the week (Luke 24:1-7)
- Dictionaries that give a more definitive description describe Saturday as the seventh day of the week.
4. Keeping the Sabbath
- Jesus Himself kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16), and so did Paul and the Apostles after Jesus’ death (Acts 13:42-44, 17:2, 18:4).
- We will also be keeping the Sabbath in the New Heavens and the New Earth (Isaiah 66:22-23).
- This incredible day that has been set aside was designed by God at Creation, written in stone in the Ten Commandments, kept by God’s people through the ages, observed by Jesus during His time on earth, treasured by the Apostles after Jesus’ death and cherished in the New Heaven and the New Earth.
- This is important because it is a sign between God and His people, a time where He can really connect with His children (Ezekiel 20:12). It’s a time of rest (Matthew 11:28), and a time to do good (Matthew 12:12).
- Things that you can (and should) do on the Sabbath include, but are not limited to:
i. Resting from your daily work / routine
ii. Taking time to be really “still”
iii. Worshipping at church
iv. Starting up a small group Bible study
v. Spending more time reading / studying your Bible
vi. Disconnecting from the world (TV, Facebook, internet, emails etc.)
vii. Spending time with family
viii. Eating at the table (and not in front of the TV!)
ix. Don’t do any shopping
x. Spending time in nature
xi. Going for a walk / short hike
xii. Reading a good spiritual book
xiii. Visiting someone in the hospital / nursing home
xiv. Visiting someone who needs to be visited!
xv. Listening to contemplative / uplifting music
xvii. Creating boundaries helps protect the Sabbath!
xviii. Make it special!
xix. Create special routines!
- In this day and age, not only is it possible to keep the Sabbath, it is NECESSARY, simply because of how busy we are. Devon Franklin, Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Tristar Pictures, ensures that guards his Sabbath, his ultimate connection to God very closely because of how busy he can get during the week. He chooses to put God first and to embrace his faith; that is what guides his life. He believes that the door that God opens will fit his faith, and nothing gives him more joy and pleasure than to continue to stay connected to Jesus, especially through the Sabbath.
Let us all take this incredible gift of the Sabbath, and join God in resting and connecting to Him on this day that God blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:3).