Genesis 2:3 reads, “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.”
Exodus 20:8 reads, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (9)six days you hall labor and do all your work, (10) 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. 11 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.”
Mark 2:27 reads, “Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.?
The Old Testament is littered with verses that warn again work on the Sabbath day. This day is set apart, reserved, to be kept holy. It’s a day of rest. Time to be and be with God.
I’ve heard the stories of time long since past, when the world would come a to a stop. Businesses closed, people didn’t work, and rest was on top of everyones list of things to do. But where are we now? How important is the Sabbath at this time in history. And what is our response. Better yet, how do, or should we recognize and celebrate the sabbath?
I don’t think this are easy questions to answer without becoming legalistic. Sure we can read verse after verse in the Old Testament about what not working on the Sabbath, that it is holy, and punishment will come if we do not follow the “Law.” But what do you do when you come to the New Testament and verses like mark that say the Sabbath is for man and not man for the Sabbath. How do you respond to Jesus’ word and action in Matthew 12, Mark 3, and Luke 13?
What is the Sabbath? To put it simply, the Sabbath is the day we set aside to worship, rest, and be. Part of me wants to say that the Sabbath might look different for different people, at different times, and in different seasons of life. For example, as a teen, flipping burgers at the local fast food establishment, Sundays were my day to go the church, worship, spend with family, resting, relaxing. As a young adult, I began assisting in worship. Now my Sabbath had an element of work involved with it as I lead people in worship. In my twenty’s I served as a youth pastor. I again assisted in morning services then youth group on Sunday nights. For a while, I worked at a Christian camp. During the summers, Sunday was when the campers arrived. It was the first day of programming. Now in my mid-thirties, and serving as a youth pastor again, I spend Sunday’s teaching Sunday school and leading the youth group on Sunday nights.
For me, the traditional Sabbath is a day of work, joyful work, but nonetheless, work. But not just for me. Now, businesses are open. People are working, shopping, eating out, going places. For a great many, Sunday is just the extension of Saturday. It’s the day before a new work week, with no real value in it at all. (Well, no value until football season.) Sabbath. What Sabbath?
I think about this this morning because I love going to worship. I love being with God’s people. I love celebrating His faithfulness with those who get it. But where is the Sabbath? After worship, then what? Does the day become an ordinary day. Do we show up for hymns, songs, prayers, and a good message only to go home, grab the to do list and get to work?
How do we honor the command to set this day apart, keep it holy, rest, and be? Like I said. It’s not an easy answer. Because to answer the questions properly, we have to define rest, work, be-ing, holiness. We’d have to battle with hundreds of different opinions and thousands of years of doctrine and Theology. And we’d have to understand the heart and mind of God.
Or do with talk Scripture at face-value?
Where do you stand when the issue of the Sabbath arises? Do you set aside a day to be holy and rest? Do you tend to be more “liberal” and accept that times are different and the Sabbath isn’t so much a day but a state of mind? Or do you belong to a church who still holds to a “traditional” definition of Sabbath?
I’d love to hear your thoughts? Please leave a comment below!