2 Chronicles 26: 3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
Uzziah was king for a whopping 52 years. For most of his life he would be faithful to the Lord, who bestowed on him three signs of God’s favor: military success, building projects, and a vast army with armaments. There is a simple message here that has been repeated over and over in 1 and 2 Chronicles:
Obedience to God yields blessings, disobedience yields curses.
As children of God under the new covenant of Jesus Christ, we understand that our standing before God the Father is no longer driven by obedience to God’s law (the old covenant). We are reconciled to God through Jesus’ death and resurrection (the new covenant). That is a great thing. However, many Christians take this point too far.
Many Christians choose to ignore God’s law because it is no longer central to our standing before God, which has been secured through Jesus Christ. This is a mistake. God’s ways were originally intended to give us life. They still do.
It’s in this spirit that in 2015 I’ve been focused on observing the Sabbath each week. It’s hard. Frankly, I’m having to discover what it means to keep a Sabbath because I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this modeled for me. Sabbath is a central element of the lifestyle of God’s people we have basically lost over time.
Sabbath isn’t just a day off, it’s a day of focused investment in my relationship with God the Father. It’s a time of reading, prayer, reflection, abiding. I expect it must have been easier to keep the Sabbath when the broader culture protected Sundays by requiring most places of business to be closed and by scheduling no extra-curricular activities on Sundays. Today Sunday is pretty much like every other day.
On the up-side, it means Christians honoring the Sabbath get to be counter-cultural again. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Heavenly Father, teach us your ways. Amen.