Part 1: The Sabbath–The Realm of His Presence by Roger Dixon
13 ¶ “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word,
14 Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
We are not interested in keeping the Sabbath from a legalistic standpoint. We must relate to the Sabbath as the realm of God’s presence. The literal Sabbath was given as a day of rest. It was to be a day of no work being done. This is symbolic of the realm of God’s presence where nothing of the soulish energies of man are manifested. The literal keeping of the Sabbath in the Old Testament was pointing to a day of joyous liberty in the Spirit.
Keeping the Sabbath means entering the realm where it’s no longer about “me,” but “Him.” It is going from self consciousness to God consciousness. This is not a legalistic trip, however. It is not about denying one’s self from a religious standpoint. It is about losing our self awareness in His presence. Let’s re-read the above verses in light of this definition, substituting “the realm of His presence,” for sabbath.
The phrase, “desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word,” is especially significant. Let’s remember though, all these things we “cease from” are not various acts of the flesh we put clamps on, but rather the things we cease from are all indicative of the soul realm, which is the “me” realm. It’s not changing our habits, it simply moving into another realm where His nature is able to operate freely in us. The reference to “speaking your own word” speaks volumes, no pun intended. The kingdom ofGod is ultimately a prophetic community in which His word flows, not our own. The great majority of Christianity, and all of religion in general, speaks its own word. It is impossible to speak God’s word apart from abiding in the realm of His presence. His presence is the origin of every spiritual manifestation. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (Jam. 1:17).” The only true ministry is that which flows from His presence.
Let’s go back now and read the preceding verses that lead up to the passages on keeping His Sabbath.
1 ¶ “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.
3 ¶ ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers.
4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke?
7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 ¶ “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
Verses 1-5 describe the realm of religion. Notice verse two: “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.” This doesn’t sound like wickedness, does it? The above passage sounds very “spiritual.” The realm of God mingles in the realm of our soul, otherwise we would never come to know Him. But as we will see from these passages, God frustrates the realm of soul and will never bring it into the fulfillment of His promises. Remember, we are defining the soul realm as the “me” realm. Verse three is a rhetorical question posed from the soulish, religious realm: ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice? This verse is indicative of how the soul realm hopes for much but receives so little. It is akin to the passage in Haggai: “Youlook for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the LORD of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.” This message is not meant to bring condemnation; God forbid. It is about stepping across into another realm. It is learning to abide in the realm of His delight. He is always there, always waiting for us to enter into the transition from soul to spirit that He might be to us all that He desires. This is confirmed in verses 6-12. Go back and re-read them! Verses 6-7 describe the realm of “Him,” not “me.” And the rest of the verses reveal to us how willing and ready God is to bring us into His fullness once we begin to “keep the Sabbath.”
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.” Here is the face to face realm of 1st Cor. 13. No more seeing through a glass darkly. Everything is fulfilled in the realm of His presence.
I especially like verse 12: “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.” It is to those learning to abide in His presence that become the channels of ministering the relationship to God that existed before the Fall.
(This is part 1 of 3-part series.)