Keeping the Sabbath

(Ex 20:8-11; Ex 31:12-14; Lev 23:3; Isa 58:13-14)

Why does God want us to keep the Sabbath?  First of all, God wants us to keep the Sabbath because He knows that we need regular rest.  Ps 103:14 says, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”  God knows our limitations. God knows what we need. God knows we need rest, and He has designed us to need that rest on a regular basis. Fatigue is not God’s plan for your life.

When God created heaven and earth, He rested on the 7th day. And He blessed and sanctified that pattern. The Sabbatic pattern is a blessed pattern. And God designed all creation to function in this pattern.

Some societies have tried to abolish this pattern and have suffered for it.  During the French Revolution, radicals abolished Sunday, but they found that the health of the nation suffered, and they had to reinstate it.  Also, the Russian Communists, on the theory that they had created a new man, the “superworker,” instituted a l0-day week. But that new social order miserably failed.

God’s rhythm is best for men and women because God created them.  And God’s plan is that we rest one day in seven. Why? Because we need it!

But there is a second reason why God wants us to keep the Sabbath.  There is something that God wants to teach us.  Remember how God fed the Israelites while they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years? He fed them with manna from heaven (Ex 16:4-5; Ex 16:22-31).

What is it that God is trying to teach His people with the gathering of the manna?  God told them to gather for six days and rest on the 7th day.  And what He wanted Israel to learn from this lesson of the manna is that six days of gathering will provide you enough for seven days of living.

And the 7th day is to be a day of rest. If you go out to gather on the 7th day, it will not profit you! Working on the 7th day will not profit you.

God is trying to teach His people to trust Him. Trust Him to provide for them even when they aren’t working.

Just like the tithe. If we give 10%, God promises that He will make 90% go further than l00%. The tithe is a trust test. Are you passing it?

The same is true for the Sabbath. If we keep the Sabbath and rest on one day,

God promises that He will make six days of work be more than enough for seven days of living. It is a trust test. Are you passing that test?

God has designed us to need rest. It is for our own good that we follow that design. But God also wants us to learn to trust Him. Trust Him to provide for us.

The Sabbath was also to be a time of worship of our Lord and of enjoying our friends and family.  But Israel’s great Sabbath day became a legalistic day of dos and don’ts.  So Jesus, as He so often had to do, brought the people back to the Spirit of the

Law. Jesus said in Mk 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

God made this a day of rest, a day of trust, and a day of worship and joy for us.

It is a gift for us, a gift to be enjoyed by us.  It’s not a burden. It’s a blessing.  It refreshes us. It renews our perspective. It rekindles our relationships. It rests our bodies. It’s good! It’s a gift! We need it!

When is the Sabbath?  In the OT, the Sabbath was on Saturday, the 7th day of the week. But in the NT, the early church began to meet on Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord. Still maintaining the same seven-day rhythm of creation, but worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday to commemorate the resurrection (Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:1-2).

So keep this in mind: more than you will keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath will keep you!

I can’t help but wonder how many are not doing well physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually because you are consistently violating God’s weekly rhythm of worship, rest, and restoration.

Some of you are so used to living with fatigue that you forgot what it was like to wake up rested and excited about the day or the week.

We need to get back to God’s plan. His ways are better than our ways.

Pastor Gary