Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 7—Is the Sabbath worth discussing?

            "Sabbath?"  The world says, "What is that?  Isn't that an ancient religious term?"

            Yet, some would say, "Oh, that's another name for Sunday."  Others would say, "No, it's really another name for Saturday."  Still others would say, "Well, it doesn't matter what day you call the Sabbath as long as you go to church at least once a week."  Finally, a remnant—or perhaps the majority of people—conclude that, since no one really knows what or when the Sabbath is, it is irrelevant in today's world."  Does this principle really touch your family enough to make it worth your consideration?  Well, if the Sabbath is something we should observe, then definitely.  If not, then still yes; the conversation will come up as others around you will have strong opinions one way or another.

            What does the Bible say?

            Genesis 1:  "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done."

            This is the beginning of the Sabbath.

            Exodus 20:8-11  "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 manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.  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" –from  the Ten Commandments

            Then God made it clear that the Sabbath is holy and should be treated as such.

            Leviticus 25:3-7  "For six years sow your field, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops.  But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord … Whatever the land yields during the Sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land."

            God took the weekly Sabbath for humans and animals and applied a year of Sabbath for the ground.  Every seventh year the land shall not be cultivated or planted; however, both people and animals could eat and/or collect any food that grew on its own.

            II Chronicles 36:21  "The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah."

            The Israelites failed to keep the Sabbath for the land (and I believe the weekly Sabbath), so God had an invading army take the people into exile in a foreign land so that the land could have its "Sabbath."  Failing to keep this command, the Israelites racked up 70 years worth of "Sabbaths" that the land did not get.  Therefore, that is how long God had them in exile.  I do not know about you, but that seems pretty harsh to me.  I cannot believe it was that important of an issue to have a foreign country invade Israel.  Although I doubt the lack of keeping the Sabbath was the only issue, it was important enough to God to mention it specifically as a reason for causing the people to go through this misery.  It must be more important than I originally thought.

            Isaiah 57:13-14  "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
            Now, God is clearly telling us that we will find joy and He will reward us for simply honoring the Sabbath.

            How do you honor the Sabbath?  In general, I will let you come to your own conclusion on this.  Meditate on what God is saying here. An important consideration is that the Pharisees followed the letter of the law regarding the Sabbath but not the spirit of the Sabbath.  That really ticked off Jesus, so legalism is not the answer.  A week from today I will talk about another perspective on the Sabbath.  Even so, God refers to the Sabbath over and over, not just in the Ten Commandments. 

            Speaking of the Ten Commandments, numerous times I have heard people say we do not have to follow that commandment any more.  My question is:  "Which of the other commandments do we not have to follow any more?"  The usual response I hear is that we have to follow all the others.  Then why would God give Moses ten basic laws/rules/guidelines and then drop one of them with no apparent explanation and not any of the others.  That does not make sense.  Therefore, I would conclude that He did not drop this command.

            Your Turn:  How important is the Sabbath to you?  Have you even thought about recognizing the Sabbath before now?  Is it worth your consideration now?  You can't really teach your children about the Sabbath if you do not know your perspective on it.  I would suggest that you until you get a grip on it (1) do not trivialize the Sabbath and (2) do not emphasize it to the point you become legalistic.  Besides, these days your family could be touched in a positive way by getting a little more rest.

One more verse:
            Hebrews 4:9-10  "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his."

            Although this is referring to a future "Sabbath," God is using the weekly Sabbath as an object lesson to help us understand the bigger picture of God's plan and what the future holds.  If observing the Sabbath gives us a better understanding of God's intentions, then maybe that by itself makes observing the Sabbath worthwhile.

            If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links.  If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.

*All verses quoted are from the New International Version:  THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


  1. After my husband attended a men's conference this past weekend he came home and announced that his family would now be doing a few things differently on Sundays. Often times after church we would swing by the store for milk or run through the drive thru or whatever. He realized that this encourages businesses to be open on Sundays, one of the busiest shopping days of the week, which in turn keeps their employees from attending church and resting. more shopping on Sundays for us.

  2. Although I appreciate occasionally being able to go to the store to get what I neglected to buy ahead of time, it's not worth making other people work on Sunday. I wish you the best of luck on keeping this new plan. Thank you very much for sharing!

  3. I like that you're talking about the Sabbath. ;) We had a really good discussion about this in Sunday School a few months ago. I wish I could remember it all! I remember them saying that the Sabbath will be different for everyone. It's what you need it to be to rest, focus on God, and enjoy his goodness. I also don't like shopping and stuff on Sunday, but someone pointed out that if a person gets really stressed out or frustrated by having to cook and clean up, the best way for them to have a Sabbath may be going out to eat. And even though we should rest from our work we don't have to be laying down completely "resting". What one person may consider work (like building furniture) I enjoy, and I could have a good Sabbath working with my hands and using one of the skills God has given me. I don't feel like I'm explaining this very well. So I'm just going to stop. But the whole lesson really made me think about the Sabbath in an exciting new way!

    I heard the other day that the only commandment that is taken seriously anymore is "thou shall not steal". It's sad, but I think it's true. :(

  4. It's always good to discuss the Sabbath--or God's Word for that matter. The comment about stealing--unfortunately, many people make excuses for what they "take" so they think they are not "technically stealing." :-(