Guest Blogger: Gena Lakeman – Experiencing the Blessing of God’s Rest
Have you ever heard of Blue Laws? Also known as Sunday laws, they are laws in the United States that banning or restricting some or all Sunday activities for religious standards, specifically to observe a day of worship or rest. These laws prohibit the purchase of particular items on Sundays, for example cars, groceries, office supplies, housewares, and liquor. Starting in the 1970’s, these laws started to be relaxed or repealed in most states, but are still enforced in some parts of the United States. One of the last counties in the United States that still ban Sunday shopping entirely is Bergen County, New Jersey. Surprisingly, this particular county is home to one of the most popular commercial shopping areas in the New York metropolitan area. Bergen County prohibits the sale of clothing, shoes, furniture, home appliances, and certain other items on Sundays, but for secular, not religious, reasons. Paramus, New Jersey, in addition, actually prohibits any type of worldly employment on Sundays with the exception of necessities like food and gasoline.
Sadly, the lift of these “Blue Laws” show clearly that America has become more interested in profits and convenience than in rest and restoration given as blessings from a day of rest. What has been forgotten, or perhaps overlooked, is that God did not consider observing a day of rest a mere suggestion. On the contrary, it is a commandment, and when we fail to take a day to observe as Sabbath, we are disobeying the word of God. Exodus 20:8-11 commands us to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” God tells us in this passage that the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord and no work should be done on this day by you or your son or daughter or servants or even animals. What work do you do on Sundays? I will be the first to admin I need to rearrange my priorities a bit. Sundays seem to always be my catch up day, and because of that, I rarely feel refreshed or replenished starting a new week.
God tells us in Isaiah that if we keep from doing as we please on His holy day, and treat it with honor and as a delight, if we refrain from going our own way, we will find joy in the Lord! He promises blessing from obedience. He is teaching us that he will give us true joy if we honor his command to take a day of rest and keep it holy for his name (Isaiah 58:13-14). It is spelled out plainly in Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for man.” God commanded Sabbath for you and for me. To restore you and me. To give you and me rest. To turn your hearts and mine to Him and find joy in His holiness.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Allow Him the opportunity to give you true rest by obeying Him in honoring this day of blessing that He has given you. He set the ultimate example for us to follow. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11). Let us follow the example He gave us, let us be obedient to the command he declared to us, and fully realize His true blessing of rest from doing so.