"The Sabbath is to regularly recognize that we are in Someone Else's House and live accordingly." (John Walton – NIV Application Commentary)"This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD." (Isa. 66: 1-2)
Both in Scripture and in the conceptual world of the ancient Near East the cosmos is seen as a temple where deity resides and comes to rest, to reside, to settle into His rightful place at the center of His creation. "But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." (i.e., Listen up to hear and obey God Almighty!) (Hab. 2:20) Thus the seventh day is not an appendix to God's six days of work but the achievement of God's purpose for His creation – that He comes to rest, to reside, to settle into His rightful place at the center of His creation. (Yet, He remains eminently involved in His world. – Col. 1:16-17)
Thus God's instructions for building the tabernacle and temple symbolize His creation where He is the center. Eden, the Garden of God, not the garden of man (Ezek. 28:13) is like the Most Holy Place and is seen with rivers of water flowing out as the Source of life and fertility for all of creation. (Gen. 2:10) We see this in the trees and the river flowing from the Millennial temple in Ezekiel: "The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." (See Ezek. 47:1-12; also see Rev. 22:1-2) In both the tabernacle and later the temple the menorah symbolizes the tree of life; the lampstand, light – both physical and spiritual; the table of bread – God's provision for food as in the Garden of Eden. God's world and His temple are "sacred space" that Adam and Eve, the priests in the temple and now all believers (the priesthood of believers) are to keep sacred. Also see Moses' words as he completed the building of the tabernacle and how they parallel the creation account and how the glory of the Lord filled both the tabernacle (Exodus 39:43; 39:32; 40:33-34 and 39:34; also see Psalm 78:69) and the whole earth at completion. (Isa. 6:3) "Moses completed the work and blessed the people for all their labors."
Now as New Testament believers we are the temple of God and we can enter the Most Holy Place to commune with God because the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple was rent, torn when Jesus death (His body was rent, torn on the cross) took away our sins which separated us from God. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor. 6:19-20; also Rom. 12:1-2) "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."(Heb. 10:19-22)
So what is Sabbath Rest all about? "The Sabbath is to regularly recognize that we are in Someone Else's House and live accordingly." It means we get into our proper place "under God" our Creator and remember and live out the very purposes for which He created us: 1) For His glory and honor: (Rom. 11:36); 2) For His pleasure: (Rev. 4:11KJV); 3) For a love relationship with Him and then for His sake, to love and serve and enjoy His creation – i.e., especially His people. (John 3:16; Mark 12:30-31) When my life brings God glory/honor and pleasure to God and I am experiencing His love and responding with wholehearted love to Him and others I will find rest for my soul. Yet, when I am concerned about "me" and my little world more than Him and His world and His purposes, I lose rest. The weekly Sabbath is giving God the very time He has given us in order to stop being preoccupied with me and creation and to recalibrating my attitude to worship, gratitude and joyfully serving Him as He directs. (See Isa. 58:13-14; Rom 1: 21-23; Psalm 100) (See Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero and The REST of God by Michael Buchanan on living a Sabbath lifestyle.)
The temple is to space (i.e., it serves to make all space sacred – everywhere I go) what Sabbath is to time (it serves to make all time sacred – everything I do) for all of our time is God's gift to us and is not "my time". "The day is yours, and yours also the night; (Psalm 74:16) A Sabbath lifestyle means we are generous with our time both to be with God and others as Jesus modeled through His use of time; to be available, accessible, approachable, other-focused (vs. preoccupied) and present to those we "spend" time with. In being truly present to God and to others we experience God and others in the "now" – the only place eternity intersects time.
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
"The Sabbath is to regularly recognize that we are in Someone Else's House and live accordingly." This is My Father's World as the song says yet I might act like it is my world, my life. What is one thing you can regularly do to unplug from focusing on God's creation (self, people, job) and instead focus on Him?
What is one thing you could do to make "your space" more sacred?
What is one thing you could do to make "your time" more sacred?
What hit you the hardest in Tozer's prayer?
O God, be thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee. Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, `Hosanna in the highest'.
Scripture memory verse: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor. 6:19-20)