One of the greatest blessings of being a pastor is studying the Word of God with people. This can be challenging of course because we are dealing with very personal things when we are talking about religious faith and the Bible. It is challenging in a different way when you are leading a study with someone who is unaware of the subject and the material has to be broken down to more basic component parts. But those are rich days for me.
This week I was reminded of what a blessing it is to do that work because it forces me to a deep level of understanding. I am incapable of explaining something simply without near complete clarity of my own. I sat down with a young person this week in a rambling walk through several subjects around creation and Sabbath. One of the texts we were discussing was Isaiah 58:13-14. This is a famous text about the Sabbath where the word “delight” is used to describe the experience of Sabbath in alignment with God.
The text is hauled out at times by folks who want us to see the things that are inappropriate to do on God’s holy day, and the text does provide such a list; “Don’t seek your own pleasure, do you own ways or speak your own words.” But if you miss the “why” of the passage it just becomes another stale list bereft of the heart of God. The why is that in moving away from these things you will experience “delight” in the Sabbath.
Jesus said in Mark 2 that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. Humans were not to be saddled and ridden by the requirements of Sabbath, it was to be our transport to rest and joy in our relationship with God. In alignment with God’s heart, we would “call the Sabbath a delight” and “delight ourselves in the Lord” as a result.
The word “delight” is sparingly used by most people and often spoken only in reference to children; something like, “The children took delight in the game.” It’s almost as if adults don’t get to delight in our experiences.
Merriam Webster defines the word – “a high degree of gratification or pleasure, also: extreme satisfaction.”
Can you imagine a day whereby, having let go of our own worrisome thoughts, released our attempt to seek our own pleasures and even changed our choice of words we found real delight? We found pleasure in the release of worry, gratification in trusting God, extreme satisfaction in rest.
Could such a day be renewing to your life? Could it help you learn that God could be trusted with your problems? Could it slow us down and help us to learn to delight in our life like we did when we were children?
It’s Friday as I type these words, I think I’ll take a shot at delight in this in coming Sabbath.
“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, … The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”