Hallowing the Sabbath
The Sabbath is an interesting concept for many of us new testament believers. Many consider it no longer relevant, perhaps somewhat archaic. But what does God’s Word say about the Sabbath?
Let’s start from the very beginning, with the book of Genesis.
Genesis 2:2-3 (CWSB)
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Now, let’s settle something very quickly. No need to split hairs about whether the seventh day was a Saturday or a Sunday. The fact is there was a seventh day, and God rested on this day, and blessed that day, and sanctified it. The Hebrew word sanctified here is qāḏaš, and the Strongs dictionary defines it as follows:
to be set apart, to be holy, to show oneself holy, to be treated as holy, to consecrate, to treat as holy, to dedicate, to be made holy, to declare holy or consecrated, to behave, to act holy, to dedicate oneself. The verb, in the simple stem, declares the act of setting apart, being holy (i.e., withdrawing someone or something from profane or ordinary use).
So God set this seventh day apart as distinct from the other six days, and He rested on this day. Surely, there is a reason for this. God is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed (1 Sam 2:3), so God must clearly consider His own actions before He carries them out. Hallowing the Sabbath was so important to God, that when He gave the ten commandments to Moses, this was one of the ten! You can check this out below:
Exodus 20:8-11 (CWSB)
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Now I know what you are thinking. We are no longer living under the law, so this commandment is no longer relevant. Wrong! God rested on the seventh day, and hallowed and sanctified it well before He gave the law unto Moses. Similar to the blessings of Abraham, hallowing the sabbath transcends the laws of Moses. It supercedes the law.
Why? I think because God wants us to be able to dedicate one day to fellowship with Him and one another. To take perspective with things and happenings, life in general, and consider what is important. This we do by attending a bible believing church with fellow believers, and getting taught His Word, so we can go out and continue in the blessing for the following six days.
Now, am I saying a believer shouldn’t stay in constant communication with God during the working week? Absolutely not. That would be ridiculous. We should speak to the Lord each day – infact as many times as possible during the day. So what am I saying then? I am saying we should hallow the Sabbath. Keep it holy as God intended – attend church on Sundays and fellowship with other believers and be sharpened to be effective in our daily lives.
The Bible also emphasises in Isa 58 how important hallowing the Sabbath is to God – your Father and my Father (emphasis mine):
Isaiah 58:13-14 (CWSB)
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
He says when we do this we delight ourselves in Him. And Psa. 37:4 says when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our heart!
Now please don’t get me wrong. Work is important. So important, that Paul the Apostle says anyone that does not work must not eat (2 Thess. 3:10). God also didn’t provide Adam a wife until He provided him a job (Gen. 2:15, 20-24). So we must work, for only the hand of the diligent will bear rule (Prov. 12:24). But work alone won’t bring the prosperity that you and I desire, it’s the blessing of the Lord that does this:
Proverbs 10:22 (CWSB)
22 The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
This blessing only comes from continually abiding in His presence (Psa. 16:11), not by working all the hours under the sun. Interestingly, have you noticed that the highest paid people in most organisations are not usually the hardest working people, but the smartest working people. It’s usually the people doing the thinking that get paid the most, not those doing the carrying and lifting and harrying. And the highest paid people rarely work all weekend long.
The Lord is not oblivious of our lives and what we go through. He knows that we have need of all the things that we need money for (Matt 6:31-32). Let’s focus on seeking God and His kingdom first as He has asked us to do, and all these things that others are dying to get will be added to us as God intended (Matt. 6:33)
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts below.
Jesus is Lord!