Remember the Sabbath day
If you turn back your foot from the sabbath,
To keep it holy
Six days are for labor in which to do all your work
but the seventh day is the Sabbath
of the LORD YOUR GOD.
You will not work in that day;
Neither will your son, nor your daughter,
not even the men and women who are your servants,
nor your cattle, nor the stranger who is staying with you.
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them,
and rested the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
[from] doing your own pleasure on my holy day,
and call the sabbath a delight,
the holy [day] of Jehovah,
honourable; and you honour him,
not doing your own things, nor finding your own pleasure,
nor speaking [idle] words;
then you will delight yourself in Jehovah,
and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth,
and feed you with the heritage of Jacob thy father:
for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken.
If you turn back your foot from the sabbath,
Why has this happened? How is it that the day that frees us from work, is so often labeled an "act of works"? How is it that the day in which we put aside all claims to "doing it our way" is labeled by many as "legalism"?
The deception has crept in underneath an obvious cover. For it is true that a Saturday, in which Christ is not central, and is just a series of strict rules to follow, is not a Sabbath of resting and delighting ourselves in the Lord, but is simply an act of works. Thus the enemy of souls perverted the Sabbath and holds up this perversion as the reason to destroy the true Sabbath. He attempts to make the Sabbath the chief example of legalism.
But what a heavy price mankind has paid for rejecting the Sabbath.
The Sabbath day gives us the answers to life's three great questions.
1. Where have we come from?
The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of creation. For in six days the Lord created all things, and rested the Seventh day and blessed it. We are created in the image of God, His workmanship! He is our Maker! He has the authority, because He is Our Maker! (See Psalms 103)
But mankind has now substituted the theory of evolution as the origin of life. Thus removing the fall into sin as the cause of death, making basic survival of the fittest the all important element, and removing our obligations to our Creator.
2. Why are we here?
The seventh-day Sabbath reminds us that we need to place our lives into the care of Christ, and rest in Him. It reminds us that righteousness and salvation come by faith in Jesus Christ. The SABBATH is a sign that it is GOD who sanctifies us-- not we ourselves. (Eze. 20:12) Upon the Sabbath we put ASIDE all our works, no matter how important they seem in order to make a living, and rest in Christ. TRUE Sabbath keeping is a sign that we are depending upon Christ.
Thus the Seventh-day Sabbath reminds us that we need to seek first the kingdom of God, and all necessities of life will be added unto us. It reminds us that our Creator, recreates us and renews us to restore His image in us.
But mankind has substituted their own works and commands instead. They have substituted the philosophies of men above the scriptures. Many have gone so far as to say, "whatever feels right, is right" there is no right or wrong. Or, god is in you, look inside yourself for truth--making self god.
3. Where are we going?
The Sabbath points forward to the eternal rest in an earth made new, where sin is no more. The One Who created will make all things new. He has the power to resurrect his people who have died. He will take all those who followed Christ on this earth, to dwell forever with Him. But mankind substituted the belief in the natural immortality of the soul that will live forever in some form or other, no matter if they follow Christ and accept His salvation or not.
So we can see why the enemy of our souls works so hard to pervert or abolish the Sabbath day. In the Jewish economy the deceiver first lead them to largely disregard the Sabbath, then after the Babylonian captivity he led them to make the Sabbath a burden with so many minute rules and regulations that it ceased to be a day to delight oneself in Jehovah and honor him. Thus the pendulum swings and the Sabbath rest is lost in either extreme.
Think of the Sabbath as a special date with our Savior. When we are in love and our beloved sets aside a day when he/she takes off time from his/her money earning work, and sets aside household chores and tells you, "This day is for us, we will spend it together".
What excitement that day brings to a couple in love. Now, if someone you don't care for asks you to take time off and spend the day with him/her, you may very likely grumble and try to weasel your way out of it. Why? Because you do not delight in that person, nor do you particularly want to honor them.
In the same way, those who love God, look forward to the Sabbath with joy, knowing all their business and "rat race" duties will be set aside, and a whole day will be spent "delighting in the Lord". However, the one who is not in love with the Lord and seeking to delight in Him, will see it only as a day of inactivity and deprivations. Why? Because they are not delighting themselves in the LORD.
True Sabbath observers are resting in Christ in full assurance that God saves and will look after their needs, even though they have set aside all things pretaining to making a living for that day.
An unsaved person, out of Christ type person, cannot keep a "holy day" holy. For only in Christ can anything be holy.
1. Physical Renewal: The Sabbath brings a balance between work and rest. Mankind needs physical rest to appreciate spiritual rest. God, in divine concern for human well-being, established the six days of work and the seventh for rest. We experience physical renewal on the Sabbath, resting from ordinary work and even from the thought of ordinary work! The beauty of the Sabbath is that we do not feel guilty on that day if we totally ignore the demands of work--the pressure is off. In this way our minds are at rest, focused on Jesus, we are at peace with God and our bodies can rest better than on weekdays. This does not mean "sleeping" all day-- it does mean resting from the pressures of life.
2. Moral Renewal: The rush of life often pushes us to do the urgent and set aside the important, but on the Sabbath we have the time to re-examine our priorities and make the important first as we set aside the "urgent". Life throws us a mixed bag of moral values, we need time to come apart from the world, withdraw from the rush of life in order assess our spiritual values.
3. Time to study and meditate: During the week often we have only half an hour a day or so to study God's Word, but on Sabbath we have time to get deeply involved and search out truth.
4. Time for spiritual fellowship with family and friends. Time to "uplift" others.
5. The Sabbath shows that before God, all men are equal. The servants, the strangers-- all have equal right to this rest.
6. The Sabbath teaches us not to find ultimate fulfilment in our work, or in the things we can buy. Materialism is not our driving goal, buying, selling, earning money is all put aside on the Sabbath, and we find joy and contentment in the things of God.
7. The Sabbath shows us that Christ desires and plans to restore the broken relationship of fellowship with His created beings, which sin destroyed. It is a symbol of God's invitation to mankind to fellowship with Him. It provides an anchor point in our experience that lasts all week long, as we fellowship with Him daily, eagerly anticipating the next Sabbath when we can enter that fuller rest with Him once more.
8. Everyone can enjoy the Sabbath. Since time is universal it cannot be destroyed. Churches, temples and material things may be hard to get to, or they may be destroyed, but the Sabbath time, the time made holy by God Himself, the time made special for us to honor and delight ourselves in the Lord, is available to all.
9. Spiritual Renewal: The Sabbath was given to man, by God, to satisfy the human need for deeper spiritual communion with God. It is a day in which we "know" that is, we experience God's sanctifying presence in our lives.
"Hallow My Sabbaths that you may know that I the Lord sanctified you." (Ez 21:12,20)
The Sabbath day is a day of rest:
Rest from our work,
Rest from the pressures of life,
Rest of sanctification
Rest of redemption
Resting in the Lord
It is a foretaste of the grand eternal rest in the hereafter, when we will be forever with Christ.
Resting upon the Sabbath each seventh-day, is but a partial fulfillment of the full meaning of this Sabbath rest. As we put aside the stresses and demands, the work by which we "support" ourselves, and trust fully in God to take care of us, the Sabbath reminds us each week that a complete and final rest awaits us in God's Kingdom, free from the troubles of this world, yet rich in the delights which God has prepared for us.
In the light of the Cross "the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God" (Heb 4:9) is not only a physical cessation from work to remember God's perfect creation, but also a spiritual entering into God's rest (Heb 4:10) made possible through Christ's redemptive ministry. The physical act of resting becomes the vehicle through which one experiences the spiritual rest. We put aside all our daily work to allow God to work in us more freely and fully.
How precious the Sabbath, when we can rest!
Work (and I'm speaking of the work that we all must do to maintain food/shelter/clothing etc.) somehow is never done. There's always something more to do. But God tells us to do all those things during the six days, but on the seventh we are to REST, AS IF ALL YOUR WORK IS DONE!
Don't worry about the things that need doing. Don't even think about it-- come apart from it all and REST and delight yourself in our Creator God!
Ezekiel 20:12 God says He gave His sabbaths, to be a sign between Himself and His people, that they might know that HE IS the LORD that sanctify them.
As we live the life of sanctification and growing in Christ, we realize we are not perfect. It's an on going process. In our growth process we often face frustration and maybe even dispair as the Holy Spirit reveals things in our lives that need "casting out" and "cleansing" so we can "grow in grace". Yet as we come to the Sabbath and rest as if all our work was done, we more fully realize His promise "My grace is sufficient for you". Our "completeness" is in Him. Yes, the "growth" process continues--must continue, for we are admonished to "run the race", but we also have the "rest".
In this materialistic world, people have a tendency to think they must work 7/24 to get all their physical work done, but their work is NEVER done.
Yet God gives us the Sabbath. A day to rest as if all our work is done. This gives us a sense of COMPLETENESS.
From this we learn the realities of our life of sanctification. Here too, we find our completeness in Christ.
On the one hand it does not sanction indolence, there is a work to be done! Yet it points us to the fact that our completeness is in Christ.
So we see that the Sabbath deals with our past, pointing us to the very source of all life:
It points us to our Creator
It deals with the present:
Our weekly special time with Christ, the One Who RECREATES us. We rest, trusting in His sanctification, as we yield ourselves to His ways.
It points us to the future:
The final rest in God's kingdom.
the Sabbath day to keep it holy.