Will the Real Sabbath Please Stand up?
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11.
How do you view the Sabbath? Is it going to church on Sunday? On Saturday? Is it twenty-four hours of rest or just going to church in the morning?
Growing up, my family went to church on Sunday morning without fail. We went on Wednesday nights, revival weeks, missionary weeks, and when the Evangelists came to town.
But Sunday was special. We had a big meal in our home after church, most often with friends or family. We could not do laundry or clean, and we could do no yard work, either (we LOVED those rules).
But, it could be legalistic, too. Sometimes a girl needed to wash her favorite pants for school on Sunday night. Nope, not allowed. It was Sunday, we should’ve done that on Saturday.
Although, this seems extreme to some, I realized later, my parents were trying their best to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
My father loved sports. He watched all the games throughout the week and weekend, until one day…The Lord convicted him of spending too much time on Sunday in front of the TV, watching sports and ignoring Him and his family. From that day on until he was in a nursing home later in life, he never watched sports on Sunday.
God takes Sabbath rest seriously.
He set the example for us in Genesis 2:2-3:
“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Do you think God really needed to rest?
In Babylon, starting around 605 BCE, the evil king Nebuchadnezzar took the people of Judah captive three different times. God even called Nebuchadnezzar “His servant.” (Jeremiah 25:9.)
They stayed in Babylon for seventy years until king Cyrus allowed them to return to Jerusalem to repair the desolate city.
According to the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, the 70 years was “the exact number of years of Sabbaths in four hundred and ninety years, the period from Saul to the Babylonian captivity.” https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/understanding-the-book-of-daniel/daniel-9/
Not only were they to rest on the seventh day, but as a country, their land was to rest on the seventh year as well. They did not do this.
Why did God allow this exile and captivity to happen? Judah was disobedient and would not listen to the Lord. (Jeremiah 25:3-4.)
Bottom line, they did not keep the Sabbath for 490 years. So, God sent them to a pagan country where they might appreciate what they had, and have plenty of time to make up the Sabbaths they missed.
When I consider the time we are in with nearly every restaurant, park, movie theater, sports event, and anything fun closed indefinitely, I can’t help but consider how many Sabbaths have we missed?
Could the Lord be using this time to make up for our missed Sabbaths? Have we ever celebrated Sabbath like God wanted us to?
Unless you are a healthcare worker or considered an essential business employee, we all have time to do that, right?
I wrote a post a while ago called Living out the Sabbath (Shabbat). I wrote about a time we visited Israel and ate a Shabbat meal with an Orthodox family. They explained the customs as we ate the meal and we watched them honor each member of the family. They wowed us the entire night.
There was not a dry eye.
Would it be so hard to carry out the real Sabbath, now? Can we enjoy the rest God has granted us once this is all over and (hopefully) things return to some normalcy?
God gave us the Sabbath for our rest—for our benefit. Rest allows our bodies to heal, our spirits to renew, and our minds to quiet down.Tweet
It’s God, family, and friends in that order on the Sabbath. It’s not a punishment, it’s a gift.
What changes can you make in your life, “To remember the Sabbath and keep it holy,”