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Delight in the Sabbath

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You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live. (Leviticus 23:3 NLT)

Rest has always been extremely important to me, in part because much of the work that I do for God’s kingdom involves creating. As a novelist, playwright, poet, dance choreographer, and now a writer for Operation Blessing, I need to keep not only my body, but also my mind well-rested to let that creativity flow.

If I work from a place of rest and refreshment, I can create much more efficiently and let God flow through me more effectively. But, if I’m tired and stressed, I tend to just stare at a blank page and feel stuck. It can take me two, three, or even four times as long to accomplish the same task, probably not as well, and that’s just bad math.

Some people fall into the American mentality of rush, stress, and busyness—relying on their hard work rather than balancing work with rest and refreshment. But God’s Word is very clear about the importance of rest. It’s established at creation and reinforced throughout the Old and New Testaments. Following God’s sacred call to rest demonstrates our trust in Him and involves Him in our life and work. 

According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s 2023 interview on The 700 Club, humans need seven different kinds of rest. She calls them physical, mental, sensory, emotional, social, creative, and spiritual. Sleep offers physical rest. But time spent with God in worship, prayer, quiet, and nature can supply us with the other six. 

Prayer and worship can provide rest for our minds and emotions. Stillness, quiet, and meditation can offer rest for our senses. Solitary time spent with God alone, or even in fellowship with a close set of friends, gives us social rest. The beauty of song, worship, dance, drama, art, or just basking in the nature God created revives our creativity. And, of course, more than anything else, time spent with God nourishes and fuels our spirit. 

While God initially gives His instruction for Sabbath in the time of Moses, we see a beautiful breakdown of the purpose of Sabbath in Isaiah 58:13-14: 

“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.  Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Now we see that in addition to being about rest and worship, the Sabbath is also about taking delight in the Lord. And that is the ultimate refreshing for our souls—for our entire beings.

Rather than just go to church on Sunday, let’s strive to truly enter into that Sabbath rest. Make it a day to focus upon and delight in the Lord in all we do. Take a nap, bask in nature, and spend time in stillness and solitude. Let’s enjoy the refreshment we find in God’s presence. 

More on Sabbath rest by CBN’s Dina Sleiman 


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Dina Sleiman

In addition to being an award-winning Christian novelist, Dina Sleiman takes great pleasure in serving the least of these through her work at Operation Blessing. This wife, mother, and grandmother loves travel, nature, dance, bungee fitness, and—of course—writing.

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