God instructs mankind to rest on the Sabbath. He made the Sabbath for man(kind). As our loving Father in Heaven He knows that we mortal creatures need a day of rest, to stop, refocus our attention on higher matters, worship and honour Him and keep the day in such a way that is pleasing to Him. The Sabbath reflects the perfect millennial reign of His Son Jesus Christ, which is soon to be set up according to His great plan.
To me, the Sabbath is a delight. It is a day of complex meaning and a day to truly shut out the normal weekly issues and focus on our relationship with God. I will try to explain in detail what the Sabbath really is, and why we keep it.
First and foremost I try to obey the laws and statutes instituted by God in their relevant physical application (as we are still physical beings) and more importantly in their spiritual application as revealed by the Holy Spirit which we have been given at baptism and that has been made available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ came to amplify the law not do away with it, and by amplification I mean, to reveal the spiritual parallels to the previous physical laws God gave ancient Israel. The Sabbath command was given to Israel in the Ten Commandments but has been in existence physically and spiritually since Creation. We can read about that in Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made”.
I don’t think that God actually needed the rest; He rather did it as an example to us, as parents set the example for their children. But in this action, it is clear that the Sabbath is very important to God and the theme of the Sabbath continues throughout biblical history, and in fact all mankind’s history until the present time, and on into the future Kingdom of God.
The more detailed instructions of how to keep the Sabbath are mentioned in Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
As a family, we really try to apply these instructions to our observance of the Sabbath. First of all, the Sabbath starts from sunset Friday night and ends at Sunset on Saturday night. It is always special the moment the Sabbath starts on a Friday – knowing that the housework for the week is done and ahead is just quality time with my family and with prayer, hymns, sermons, reading, and meditating on God’s word. It is very important for me to use the preparation day (Friday) to make the Sabbath as “work free” as possible. Of course we don’t do any paid work on the Sabbath, nor do I do any of my usual weekly work on the Sabbath. Clothes washing, cooking, cleaning, errands, shopping – all is done in the week and not on the Sabbath. Meals for the Sabbath are prepared on Friday and by the time the sun sets on Friday evening the house and our family are in “Sabbath-mode”.
I feel it is important not to allow compromise when it comes to keeping the Sabbath. I don’t believe I should cause other people to directly work for me on the Sabbath – therefore I would not, unless there is absolutely no other choice, eat out at a restaurant on the Sabbath. I would not go and get a drink out with friends after church. I would not hire a tradesman to do work for me on the Sabbath, and if I had employees I would give them a Sabbath rest – as commanded – you and your “servant” shall rest.
I will not indulge in sports activities, social activities and any other activities that distract from the meaning of the day and take my thoughts away from God. We do our upmost to keep the Sabbath holy, and to do our best in honouring God by keeping the day in the way he intended, to the best of our ability.
I love the Sabbath as a time to teach our children about their wonderful Creator. They are a bit young to really understand yet, but they can learn, through consistency, that the Sabbath is a day that is set apart from other days of the week. We take the time to walk through the nature around us to marvel at God’s creation – perhaps this is another reason why He rested on the seventh day – to take the time to step back and marvel at His handiwork. I love the Sabbath to sit and talk with my husband about God’s involvement in our lives, and about His word and in what areas we would like to grow in and what things we would like to overcome.
So that is a brief summary of how we as a family keep the Sabbath. I hope it has inspired you to do the same and enjoy the blessings of the Sabbath!