Saturday, August 8, 2015

What is Sabbath?

There are so many opinions out there about whether or not the Sabbath is still significant in the life of a Christian. I've actually had a debate of sorts with a local pastor who confidently said he could prove to me in Scripture that we no longer have to honor the Sabbath. He claimed the 4th commandment is null and void. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy that.

I listened to his opinion, but he didn't convince me. Everything he mentioned came from his or someone else's interpretation of Scripture. Moses and the Israelites didn't have to guess what God meant when He said, "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." God spelled it out for them - many times. I think if something so clearly important to God was intended to be done away with, He would have been just as clear in letting us know that without us having to speculate. I'd rather not do that.

Below are just a few observations I've gathered from Scripture regarding the Sabbath:

1. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week and the day on which God rested.

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Genesis 2:2

2. The Sabbath is the one and only day of the week that God blessed and sanctified.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all the work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:3

3. It's the only day of the week He specifically told us to remember.

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

4. It's a sign between God and His children. shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Exodus 31:13 (emphasis added)

It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17 (emphasis added)

I emphasize the words "throughout your generations" and "forever" because, I don't know about you, but to me, those words don't appear to mean "temporary."

Something else to think about here in this chapter of Exodus is, the last thing God said to Moses before giving him the first set of stone tablets on which He wrote with His own finger was to remember the Sabbath. See Exodus 31:12-18. Usually, the last thing I say to my kids when they leave the house is what I want them to remember most.

Also, I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Ezekiel 20:12

Sanctify My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. Ezekiel 20:20

5. It's a day of rest.

...and He rested... Genesis 2:2

For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord.... Exodus 35:2

God modeled Sabbath keeping for us, as did Jesus, our Messiah. If we are to walk as Jesus walked, then it doesn't seem too far fetched to me that we should also keep the Sabbath as God instructs (as opposed to how man instructs).

These observations led me to even more questions, like what is considered work or why do we need a sign or why do we need to rest for an entire day, and in particular, on the seventh day as opposed to any other day. If the Sabbath is only for the Jewish people, why is it included in the Ten Commandments? So many questions. Of course, we won't know the answers to all these questions until all is revealed when Jesus returns, but studying and learning is part of the growth process.

I realize this is a touchy subject for a lot of Christians. It's a subject I've put off really examining on my own for about a year, in fact. I put it off because I really didn't know if I could make the changes I'd need to make in order to observe the Sabbath in a way that is truly honoring God. And, I know it would be a huge undertaking to get my family on board with me, which makes it all the more daunting. My heart's desire is to live a lifestyle pleasing to my Heavenly Father. I'm not actively observing the Sabbath right now, but my heart is open if that's where He leads me. I simply want to know the Truth and apply it to my life accordingly.

I welcome your thoughts, but please be kind. We are all on a journey and not one of us has a corner on the Truth, myself included.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ten Things I Learned from Haggai

I read the little book of Haggai recently and thought I'd share some observations.

v. 1:9 You look 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.

1. I spend too much time tending to my own house and need to focus more on tending to God's.

v. 1:5-6 “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”

2. When I feel depressed and nothing seems to be going right, I need to take a close look at my life and ask these questions...Where have I disobeyed God? What areas of His work have I neglected? What has stood in the way of my serving Him (materialism, busyness, worry, etc)? In what ways have I compromised my full devotion to God?

v. 1:7-8 Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord.

3. When I'm discouraged and feeling unmotivated, I need to be obedient anyway - just do it and seek God to equip me to do His work.

4. Obedience seems difficult, but it is only doing what I should.

5. Obedience always requires prioritization of God's wishes and often requires subduing my own preferences.

v. 1:14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.

6. Obedience is not only trying, but doing.

7. Obedience is a sign of genuine heart change.

8. Fear of the "impossibilities" of life hinders my willingness to obey.

9. Loyalty and faithfulness to God is more important than my thinking it can't be done.

10. If God calls me, He will equip me.