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Unexpected Benefits in Pandemic Lockdown?

Unexpected Benefits in Pandemic Lockdown?

Tragic as the coronavirus pandemic is—as of this writing, there have been more than 200,000 deaths worldwide and some three million cases reported—there are other developments as well. For example, major cities around the world, now freed of the air pollution generated by massive traffic jams, are reporting the clearest skies in years, decades even. Some car owners in the USA have even received discounts on auto insurance premiums, given the fact that insurers have been paying out far less in claims during this period.

Another plus has been quietly coming to the forefront in this unprecedented time: the rediscovery of being at rest.

Writing at The Stream, an online publication, Christian author Michael L. Brown recently noted, “As inconvenient as this period of enforced shutdown has been, it has also been a time of reflection, a time of growth, a time of deepening. Some are even referring to it as a time of ‘divine reset,’ and it is changing their lives for the better.”

As a writer, radio host, and speaker, Brown cited the benefits of the global standstill. “Last year, I was on the road about 200 days (including 7 international trips),” he wrote. “Right now, I am doing my best to seize this unique moment in history when we are forced to shut down so many of our normal activities. I am seeking God for deep and lasting changes in my own life and for fresh and clear directives for future ministry. And I am not only seeking to be more productive. I am seeking to be more still. Waiting. Listening. Resting.”

But the crux of Brown’s article was what this “resting” had to do with the Sabbath: “What if God intended for us to have a divine reset every week?” he proposed. “What if that was one of the very purposes of the Sabbath?”

The First Holy Thing

He then went on to explain the importance of the Sabbath in the Bible. Citing the work of the late scholar and theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Brown quotes: “It is, indeed, a unique occasion at which the distinguished word kadosh [holy] is used for the first time: in the Book of Genesis at the end of the story of creation. How extremely significant is the fact that it is applied to time: ‘And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.’ There is no reference in the record of creation to any object in space that would be endowed with the quality of holiness.”

space and planets

Neither animal, plant, mountain, or even that which God created in His image, humanity, is designated as “holy” in the Creation account. Rather, as we read in Genesis 2:3, God “sanctified” a specific day, the seventh day. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to sanctify something is “to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use”; the word “consecrate” is a synonym.

But here’s where it gets interesting. While Brown’s explanation appeared to defend the seventh-day Sabbath of the Bible, Brown explicitly sidestepped the Sabbath/Sunday question: “Even less do I want to debate whether it is appropriate for a Christian to set aside Sunday, rather than Saturday (or any other day), for the Sabbath.”

Nevertheless, he made his view clear in a blog post entitled “Should Christians Observe the Seventh Day Sabbath?” featured on his website, Ask Dr. Brown: “There is no reason why they [Gentile believers] cannot set Sunday aside as a special day of rest and worship for the Lord, thereby incorporating the principles of Sabbath into their lives. To the extent that Christians feel led to set aside Sunday as their Sabbath, there is nothing wrong with doing so.”

A Divine Reset

It seems fitting then that Brown, in his concluding point, advocated for a variation of “sabbath” post-lockdown. “Let us do our best to schedule a divine reset in our lives on a regular basis,” he declared. “Let us find this ‘sanctuary in time,’ and let us benefit from it the rest of our lives.”

According to Brown, this would be a day of your choice, one that you are in charge of scheduling. It’s the same concept used in his blog, to transplant “the principles of Sabbath” to whatever day works for you.

On the surface, it sounds great—a day meant only for relaxation, recharging, and refreshing. The problem with that reasoning is that it negates the role of God. It is impossible to take the “holy” out of the seventh day and put it onto the first day or any other day. God made the seventh day, the Sabbath, special when He sanctified it. The Sabbath occupies the center of His law in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8–11), and we’re told that God’s law will never be abolished (Luke 16:17). God’s Sabbath, this seventh-day covenant between Him and us, will last for all eternity (Isaiah 66:23). There remains, therefore, a problem when we put our own spin on God’s Sabbath.

After the pandemic subsides in our local areas, in our states, the pull to return to “normal” will be a strong one. Perhaps life will even erupt in an explosion of busyness. But will this pull to return to a spurious Sabbath, a false day of rest, be even stronger?

The website is filled with resources that answer these questions. Understand the Bible Sabbath, how and why to observe it, and even the role the Sabbath has in prophecy—all from biblically-backed information.

What better time to explore this Bible truth than while on lockdown?

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