I can remember a time not too long ago that I took varying perspectives on “the sabbath” and the 4th commandment in general. I recall transitioning in thought from “this doesn’t apply to us today” to “well maybe it is incremental” in other words maybe the accumulation of our down time during the week equated to a 24-hour work stoppage. I am a very “driven” person who likes to achieve goals and get things done. I knew that God modeled this for us in the Creation account by creating for six days then resting on the seventh.
Over time God has challenged my perspective on the Sabbath. This book along with a couple others such as Emotionally Healthy Leadership and Henri Nouwen’s work have changed how I view this to be more of a set 24-hour work stoppage. Even with this knowledge it is tough to follow consistently. If you are like me and struggle to find how the 4th commandment fits in to our culture today than this is a book I would recommend to you as well!
Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now
It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods.It is alternative.
I want to share a few of my favorite quotes from this book here to give you an idea of the wisdom to be gained from it:
Chapter 1. Sabbath and the First Commandment
The commandment against “graven images” (idols) is a prohibition against any artistic representation of YHWH, (p.7)
Sabbath becomes a decisive, concrete, visible way of opting for and aligning with the God of rest. (p.10)
The various elements of that restlessness of “not enough yet” and “greater effort required” are evident everywhere. (p.13)
It is long since forgotten that rest is the final marking of creator and creation. (p.15)
Sabbath is a practical divestment so that neighborly engagement, rather than production and consumption, defines our lives. (p.18)
Chapter 3. Resistance to Coercion (Deuteronomy 5:12–14)
They imagined that with a rightly honored commodity they could “purchase” security in a world that seemed devoid of the creator. “Godmaking” amid anxiety is a standard human procedure! (p.35)
Prosperity breeds amnesia. Take care that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (p.37)
Sabbath is not simply the pause that refreshes. It is the pause that transforms. (p.45)
Chapter 4. Resistance to Exclusivism (Isaiah 56:3–8)
They made Sabbath the single specific requirement for membership. (p.54)
Chapter 5. Resistance to Multitasking (Amos 8:4–8)
Multitasking is the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do, to extend our power and our effectiveness. Such practice yields a divided self, with full attention given to nothing. (p.67)
Chapter 6. Sabbath and the Tenth Commandment
The two, idolatry and greed are equated because both of them both of them reduce livable reality to commodity. Idolatry is the worship (over-valuing) of things, especially things cast in gold and silver. (p.86)