In the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD.
In Old Testament Israel, even the land was to fit the six-and-one Sabbath pattern that God established when he created the world. In today’s reading, God tells Moses that when the Israelites entered the land the Lord was giving them, the people were to see that the land had a regular time of rest—“a sabbath to the LORD.”
Six-and-one is the rhythm of God’s creation. It’s our tempo too. The pattern of six days of work followed by one day of pausing from work is written into the very core of our being. When we live by that rhythm, we’re living in step with our created nature.
Keeping Sabbath has nothing to do with forcing a legalistic duty on our lives. Keeping in step with God’s rhythm in us doesn’t add a burden to us; it frees us to live by the pattern that God himself modeled. That suits us best as creatures made in his image.
When a wrench is used as a hammer, the work doesn’t go well. The wrench glances off the head of the nail, and it lacks the necessary weight to drive the nail properly. But when a wrench is used for the work it was designed to do—to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts—that’s when a wrench is free.
We keep Sabbath to stay in synch with the way we were designed and to enjoy the freedom of full life with God.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of life. Help me to live in step with how you have created me; allow the pattern of my life to fit with the person you made me to be. Amen.
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