Tuesday, December 21, 2021

2021.12.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 58:13–14

Read Isaiah 58:13–14

Questions from the Scripture text: From what were they to turn their feet on the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13)? Whose day is it? What were they to call a delight? What were they to call honorable? Whom do we honor when we delight in the Sabbath? Whose ways are they not to do on the Sabbath? Whose pleasure are they not to find on the Sabbath? Whose words are they not to speak on the Sabbath? What (whom!) does Isaiah 58:14 say that this kind of Sabbath-keeping will make them delight in? Upon what will this Sabbath keeping make us to ride? Upon whose heritage will this kind of Sabbath-keeping make us to feed?

In this passage, we hear about God’s solution for hearts that tend to view His law as a burden (like those in Isaiah 58:1-12). His Sabbath. So… God’s remedy for our bad attitudes about His commandments is… the 4th commandment?

Immediately, we can see that following this remedy is going to require faith. It requires a decision to rely upon what God’s Word says instead of what I feel. It requires a commitment to treat my own wisdom as folly and follow the Physician’s advice instead of what I think I know.

So, it doesn’t surprise us that this commandment is at first about submission: “turn your foot away from doing your pleasure!” Does your heart resent that idea? We need to yield to the fact that when we do God’s pleasure instead of ours, we find out that He is better at making us glad than we are. He cares more for our happiness than we do. He knows better how to give it to us than we do. Am I willing to admit that? If so, all my complaints against the commandments in this verse will evaporate.

Turn away from my own pleasure? Does God want me to be miserable every Sunday? On the contrary! That was just the first command. And the second is like it: call the Sabbath a delight. God’s command isn’t about no pleasure; it’s about substituting a superior pleasure. In other words: you don’t know what delight is. God designed many pleasant things for us. But He did not design us for those things. He designed us for Himself. For us who are made in His image, there is a greater delight than can be found in any creature. That delight is delight in the Creator.

Now, here comes the part that requires the greatest humility. We have to admit that we simply don’t enjoy God like we should. The greatest commandment is to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, but as soon as we are told to spend an entire day with Him, we begin proposing all of the alternative things that we might prefer. Our chief end is to enjoy Him forever, but we have an entire list of things that—when push comes to shove—our heart of hearts finds more joy in. But He uses this day to train our hearts: “then you shall delight yourself in Yahweh.”

It’s the Lord who made those things for us. But He made us for Himself. Jesus knew this and felt this and lived this. If we trust in Him, we have the glorious promise that His obedience is counted for us as if we had done it. And, if we trust in Him, we have another glorious promise: that when we see Him, we shall be like Him. Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to delight in God Himself more than in any of His gifts? He will surely do it. Here’s what He uses though: set apart the Lord’s Day as holy!

Who cares most for your joy? What are some evidences of that? What is the biggest one?

Sample prayer:  O glorious and ever-blessed God, Who have made us for Yourself and redeemed us for Yourself, forgive us for when we insist upon rejoicing more in created things than in You, Our Creator. Bless unto us Your day, week by week, and use it to train our hearts in the pleasures of heaven, for we ask it in Your Name, Who are Yourself the very heavenliness of heaven, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP118D “Now Open Wide the Gates” or TPH153 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

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