If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
It is all-important to realize that men are more to God than forms and ceremonies, even of His own devising. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). He who is “Lord … of the Sabbath” is pleased when we use His holy day to bless and help those in trouble, and to relieve the afflicted, so far as we are able to do so. Truly to keep the first day of the week holy to the Lord is to use it for rest, worship, and ministry to others. To think only of relaxation, and to spend this day in pleasure seeking, is to misuse it and to fail to enter into the purpose God has in preserving its privileges for us. “I get so weary with all the burdens of business throughout the week,” said a Christian tradesman to me once, “that I must have rest and exercise on Sunday. So I use the Lord’s day afternoons visiting in the hospital and seeking to comfort and help the friendless.” He returned to work on Monday refreshed and ready for another six days of toil.
Let us cherish our privileges and neither despise them nor hedge them about with legal enactments for which there is no Biblical authorization.
O sacred day of peace and joy!
Thy hours are ever dear to me.
Ne’er may a single thought destroy
The holy calm I feel for thee.
Thy hours are precious unto me,
For God has given them in His love,
To tell how calm, how blest shall be
The sabbath rest of heaven above.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 119.