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September 5 – The sacred sanctuary in time

But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. – Psalm 73:16-17

Scripture reading: Nahum 1:14-15 and Ps. 73

The Jewish Theologian-Philosopher, Abraham Heschel (1907 – 1972), wrote of Sabbaths as a sanctuary in time. “The Sabbaths are our great cathedrals, the Jewish equivalent of sacred architecture.” Why is that significant on this Sunday? Look at the prophetic commandment given to the people of God. They are to keep their feasts. They are to continue in their worship of the Living God. Judah’s anticipated protest: But the enemy is still at our doorstep! The Nineveh conquerors still oppress and terrify us.

Here Psalm 73 aids our understanding of what is going on. Sometimes the people of God look at the wicked and are shocked at their successes. It becomes too discouraging. Worship seems pointless. However, on the Sabbath, the Day appointed for worship, the people of the LORD remember the saving work of the LORD and are reminded of the sure defeat of the wicked. His blessings are poured out on the righteous.

God created the Sabbath, a sanctuary in time when His people meet with and delight in Him. At the Covenant making in Exodus 20, the LORD affirmed the Sabbath Day as the time His people meet with Him. In the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Sunday is the Sabbath for Christians. Beloved in Christ, meet with God’s people, renew your love for the God Who saves. The wicked are defeated. Those made holy in Christ are saved to delight in the LORD. Sing Christ’s victory to the Father’s praise, in faith, by the strength of the Spirit.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that worship of the Triune God among His people will be a renewed delight for you; pray for the Spirit of God to bring believers back to Jesus and deepen their commitment to public worship; pray for preachers, chaplains, missionaries and evangelists that they have the God-given strength to bring Good News.

Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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