We are continuing our series of reflections on the Psalms. Each day we will upload a new reflection to the website. We hope and pray that you will find them helpful and that they bring hope during this season. Click on these buttons to read the text of the psalm or listen to a recording of it. You can also listen to the reflection using the audio player below.
This psalm is titled “for the Sabbath day,” although the title may refer to it being used on the Sabbath, rather than being about the day of rest. The origin of a Sabbath day of rest is in the story of Creation. God created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day he rested. For the Jewish people this was from sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday. The focus of the psalm is praise of the Lord, because of what he has done. Verses 4-5 could be a reference to God’s work of creation.
The early church moved from the observance of the Sabbath on a Saturday to Sunday, the Lord’s Day, becoming the holy day on which to celebrate and remember the resurrection – the day of New Creation. St Paul in his writings did not explicitly expect Christians to observe a Sabbath day, and suggested it may just be a shadow having been replaced by Jesus (Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4:3-12, Romans 14:5-13). The Sabbath was not in the letter to Gentile believers, from the Jerusalem Council, about what aspects of Jewish law they should keep (Acts 15:22-31).
In recent years in this country, Sunday has become like most of days of the week. The shops are open and many people have to work. Squeezing as much work as possible into the time we have seems a national pastime, sometimes out of necessity, but often out of choice. So many of us have had an enforced period of rest over the months of lockdown. The roads cleared of traffic, the skies cleared of aircraft. Pollution levels fell around the world as factories suspended their work. I’m sure the sky was bluer, and there were certainly less clouds formed by aeroplane vapour trails.
So, now that lockdown is easing, what of Sabbath rest? Rest is good for the body and the mind. Humanity was given a commission to protect and care for creation (Genesis 2:15). How we work affects the world around us. How can we adopt the principal of the Sabbath in our busy lives?
Lord Jesus, show me how to use my time, when I should work and when I should rest. Help me understand how to protect and care for your creation.