Last Sabbath there was a lot of unrest in our country as protests across the country turned chaotic and violent. Many of us were glued to social media and news outlets. Many were afraid for their cities, some afraid for their lives, and everyone afraid for America.
We fear for our way of life as Americans and Christians. We take it for granted. We want it to last until the end of time.
In the grand scheme of forever, will anything good last?
Sabbath peace will last forever. The gift that God created for humankind will last forever with Him. Will it last until Monday? Likely not. Will the peace and rest you feel on Sabbath last until next Sabbath? Probably not. Can it sustain you until then? Can it last an eternity with Jesus?
In Numbers chapter 28, Moses receives detailed instructions regarding how the Israelites should make sacrifices to the Lord. Why were the Israelites instructed so? In Numbers 28 the clear reason is repeated throughout: burnt offerings create for God a “sweet aroma”. The word for “sweet” here is nuach, or to rest.
So the sacrifice to the Lord at the appropriate time creates a Sabbath aroma for Him. It’s part of the reason the Israelites are instructed do make these sacrifices.
Could God create for Himself a pleasing aroma? Of course!
I think of it like chocolate chip cookies. I could go pick some up at the store and eat them. I could even get premade dough and bake cookies at home. Nothing beats the aroma of cookies baked and handmade by someone who loves you, though. Nothing beats a Sabbath filled with offerings to the Lord, filled with love toward others, and filled with rest. Nothing.
How can you create a pleasing aroma for the Lord this Sabbath? Get the most out of your Sabbath now, here on earth, and it is just a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
Tips for a “Pleasing” or “Sweet” Sabbath
- Prepare through the week. The Israelites would not have been able to choose the best lambs for sacrifice if they didn’t plan ahead. In the same way, if you want your Sabbath to be meaningful, you must prepare throughout the week.
- Center activities around Christ and family. Drawing near to Christ will bring a peaceful and pleasing “aroma” to your Sabbath and create healthier relationships with your family and friends.
- Be intimate with your family and with God. Intimacy is not all about sex (although having sex with your spouse is not a bad way to add peace and joy to your Sabbath). Take steps to create intimacy between yourself and your spouse, your kids, your friends, and your Savior on Sabbath.
- Put your trust in God. Sometimes trust looks a lot like obedience. Do all you can on Sabbath to show God your reverence, obedience, and trust. If you’re unsure how to do that, consider how you might show your spouse trust and obedience. Are you used to fighting on the way home from church? Hold your tongue and see if you can make a positive change this week? Does your wife usually handle all the cooking and dishes? Surprise her and take care of it before she has a chance. Do you usually close the door on Jesus when you get home from church? Take a small step this week to invite Him in. This can look like inviting someone over for a meal. It can look like turning on Christian music instead of the t.v. It can look like volunteering at a shelter. Talk with your family about exciting new ways to connect with and work for God on the Sabbath.
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Keep a journal on your phone or in a notebook so that you can always have an attitude of gratitude toward your Creator. List the things for which you’re thankful. List the things you hope for and thank God for those aspirations. List family and friends despite any grievances you might have. List the good, the bad, and the ugly. God can use it.
- Begin a Bible study alone or with a friend. This can be via Zoom, Facebook, Youversion, or any number of avenues. Don’t overthink it. Don’t let it add stress. Don’t take responsibility for every person in the group. Study God’s Word, discuss with others, and you’ll be surprised what peace God will bring to your Sabbath.