Rhythms of Sabbath Delight
Recordings, notes and application questions
Each week, we produce notes, discussion points and application questions for the Sunday talks — helping you go deeper into everything we’re looking at together and resourcing our Small Groups during the week. Use the embedded player to listen to the talk, or click here to visit Soundcloud and download it on a PC. You can also find the accompanying Powerpoint presentation here.
- Genesis 2:1–3
- Exodus 20:8–11
- Deuteronomy 5:12–15
Creation is built with a rhythm which echoes down through the days of creation (evening and morning, the rising and setting off the sun, the flow of the tides, and even the breath in our lungs). It’s a rhythm that reaches it’s crescendo in rest on Day 7.
Rest is to be the place we are to live from, recognising that we are built for a rhythm of rest and then work. Humanity is created at the end of Day 6, and the first thing God gives is a day of rest to enjoy. Our culture is built with rhythms of restlessness which we need to learn to undo in our own lives and offer out to others:
“If you go against the grain of the universe, you get splinters” — H.H. Farmer
Sabbath isn’t just about taking a day off. It’s an intentional act to stop working for 24 hours, to do things that bring us rest (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally), and enjoy the goodness of God and all that He has given.
This comes through in the two passages giving the ten commandments. The Exodus passage emphasises the creation account; showing how we rest because we are those who are made in the image of a God who rests. It also reminds us of how we are not like God, and the freedom that comes from recognising that He is running the universe, not us. The Deuteronomy passage emphasises God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt; showing us the invitation to sabbath is an invitation to receive the fullness of our identity as God’s beloved children. Free people can rest, and we have been freed in order to rest in Him. It also highlights how this is a rest we are to continuously offer and extend to others, whoever they are, as we come into contact with them.
Finally, the key to sabbath is delight. We are not to be like the Pharisee's in Jesus’s day, obsessed with rules and regulations, but to delight in God and in His “very good” work of creation and new creation (through Jesus’s life, death and resurrection). We were not made for the sabbath, but the sabbath for us — it’s a free gift! Gazing at Jesus and delighting in Him enables us to enjoy that gift, allow it to transform the rhythms of our life, and offer it out to others.
1. What spoke to you most about Sunday?
2. Are you taking a sabbath?
3. How can you transform your day off into a sabbath?
4. How can you mark the sabbath to set it apart as distinct?
5. How can you grow in delight on your sabbath?
6. Who can help you with this?
7. How can we be those who offer this rest to others?