Isaiah 58:13–14 (ESV) …“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
In the Old Testament, the Jewish people worshipped on the Sabbath. We know they were required to do so because of the Laws of God given to Moses in the Ten Commandments. The purpose of the Sabbath was to help structure the weekly schedules of the people of God around giving glory to God together.
The Sabbath is God’s appointed release for us from our self-worshiping addiction to work and productivity and efficiency and organization and busyness. The Sabbath is God’s way of saying, “No, your highest values will not be professional and commercial. They will only end up destroying you and others through you. Your highest values will be worship and freedom and delight, enriching you and all around you.”
Today, the people of God worship on Sunday and not Saturday. Why? Because Sunday is the resurrection day! The day worship changed in the New Testament Church. While the day has changed, the purpose behind having a day of worship established has not changed.
Unfortunately, for most American Christians today, Sunday is treated as a holiday reserved for our pleasures and not the worship of the risen Christ. Furthermore, we often skip worship on Sunday. When we do so, we think we’re freeing ourselves from a religious imposition, but in fact, we’re enslaving ourselves to destructive workaholism, unintentional but real exploitation of our employees, the obliteration of unstructured family intimacy, and, above all, a lost sense of the sacred.
As with the Sabbath. God has made a weekly appointment with us on Sunday’s now. Do we love him enough to keep it? If we do, here’s his promise:
“… then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (v. 14)
Delight in God is the most precious treasure in the world. It opens everything else up. It expels sin, it praises Christ, it studies the Bible, it raises kids well, it works hard for the benefit of others, it relieves their sufferings, it builds the church, it goes to Heaven.
Authentic Christianity delights in worship. It recognizes that God is calling us to schedule our weekly routines around his great and serious joys, bringing others with us into the atmosphere of holy delight. That means that Sunday is not an extra Saturday. It’s not the end of the weekend. It’s not the day to get caught up for Monday. It’s the Lord’s Day, when we set minor things aside and replenish ourselves and others with all the fullness of God.