Day 38: Sabbath Everywhere
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “In the stillness… ” As you exhale, whisper, “…we await Your voice, O Lord.”
Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush. Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep. The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.” He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.
Then the Word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?” “I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned Your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered Your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.” Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. (1 Kings 19:3-12, MSG)
For further exploration:
(semi-scholarly, 60 min)
Almighty Father, even though people everywhere talk about recession and foreclosures, we are thankful in all circumstances, for this is Your will for us who belong to Christ Jesus. We offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about Your glorious acts. Father, we thank You for being the source of our supply. Our Father, who created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. You give breath to everyone and life to everyone who walks the earth. We love You and come before You in the Name of
Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We will praise Your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. We will tell everyone that You alone are just. We praise You, Lord! Father God, we are joyful because we fear You and delight in obeying Your commands. We are blessed to be Your children.
Heavenly Father, we are encouraged that You give prosperity to the poor and protect those who suffer. We confess that our children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of Godly people will be blessed. Our children will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Lord, we expect business leaders in our community to honor Your Word and live by Your precepts. We command light to shine in the darkness for the Godly. We declare that they are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. During economic difficulties in our nation and around the world, we claim prosperity for our communities. We decree that merchants in our communities will not fear bad news; they confidently trust You, Lord, to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted. Yes, Lord we expect You to pour down Your blessings. We decree that our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Father, we will support the businesses of the Godly men and women in our communities.
Righteous Father, we lift up to You believers in our communities who are providing goods and services in a fair and decent manner and pray that our fellow citizens will do business with them. May they be given favor by governmental and civic agencies so that their enterprises will not be impeded, but will flourish. Holy Spirit, inspire these merchants to deal with residents in our communities fairly. Father, deal with the hearts of business owners in all communities who take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Americans or foreigners living in our towns. Empower employees in our area to be diligent, honest and trustworthy and to work to increase their knowledge and productivity. Holy Spirit, show unscrupulous business people in our communities the error of their dealings and touch their hearts to repent and change their business practices. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to You, that You may have mercy on them. Yes, Holy Spirit, help them to turn to God, our Father, for He will forgive generously. Admonish those in our communities who do not support local merchants or who try to exploit their businesses. Cause them to repent and seek forgiveness.
Holy Spirit, remind me to support business in our communities which are worthy of our patronage.
Make a list of businesses in your communities and begin to support them:
Righteous Father, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help. Lord, forgive the business owners in our community for all acts of sinfulness. Forgive those who have not been diligent in seeking Your leadership for their businesses. Forgive those who do not trust in You and Your business principles but lean on their own understanding. Forgive those who have compromised Your Word in order to make a profit. Forgive those who have not treated their employees and customers fairly. Forgive those who have not been faithful in giving through tithes and offerings. Forgive those who have not properly taken care of or shown respect for the community they live in. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed.)
Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Almighty God, You are awesome in Your sanctuary. O God of Israel, You give power and strength to Your people. Praise be to You, God! Let all that we are praise You Lord, our God; how great You are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You live from everlasting to everlasting! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Isaiah 42:5, Psalm 71:16, Psalm 112:1, I Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 107:22, Philippians 4:19, Job 5:11, Psalm 112:2-3, Psalm 112:4-6, Psalm 112:7-10, Isaiah 85:12, Deuteronomy 24:14, Isaiah 55:7, Psalm 86:5, Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 68:35, Psalm 104:1
Concepts to Consider
Sabbath has both “macro-” and a “micro-” aspects. We find Sabbath principles popping up everywhere in “big” and “small” Biblical settings: In Elijah’s provision, rest, and reassurance (in the shadow of the very mountain where God gave the Sabbath laws!); throughout Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 11:28-30; 12:8); in the “Sabbath year” for allowing farmland to lie fallow (Leviticus 25:2-4); in the “no customary work days” of the Biblical Festivals (e.g., Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles; Leviticus 23:39); in the anticipated New Creation (Revelation 21-22); and, of course, in the observed single day (Exodus 20:8-11). So, if Sabbath permeates the whole of Scripture then it stands to reason that it can also infuse to the “big” and “small” actions and interactions of our daily lives.
What would it mean for us to ask the Holy Spirit–the Sabbath Spirit–to help us seek “Sabbath moments” each day? Reclaiming the time and space to “cease striving” and recognize the beauty and sacredness that is present around us. It doesn’t have to be a big dramatic thing (although it might be on occasion). Stretching Sabbath beyond a single day into how we experience and exude God’s Sabbath ongoingly is the basic call of all humanity. What if we began to identify God’s presence in the simple pleasures of life such as beautiful colors, a babbling brook, a sunset, rustling leaves, shimmering stars, a sunrise, a rock, a flower, the smell of fresh bread, children’s laughter, an unexpected kind word or action, etc.
At its core Sabbath is about two things: 1. Receiving the bounty of God’s presence and covenant love then 2. Releasing that same love to others and into creation itself. The absence of this “Sabbath ethos” is sadly evident in our world. Trashing the earth, trashing our bodies and minds, and trashing relationships are all symptoms of not observing the intended spirit of Sabbath. We need a “Sabbath-itude” adjustment!
Only God the Holy Spirit can give us the power to do what Psalm 46:11 admonishes: “drop everything and quit striving” and then you will begin to understand–to “know” relationally–our loving, covenant, re-creating God and His Sabbath intentions for us and the world.
Personal Reflection: Elijah had difficulty perceiving the Sabbath provision of God as he fled Jezabel. When has it been difficult to see “Sabbath moments” in your life? Realize that today God is providing Sabbath spaces and places for you. You may want to keep a record of those Sabbath moments today, as a means of encouragement.
Kingdom Reflection: To adapt the old song, “What the world needs now is Sabbath, sweet Sabbath.” What’s in the news today that needs our earnest, Sabbath-infused prayerful attention?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your
Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.