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Posts tagged ‘sabbath’

Seeking a Sabbath

I’ve written before on the topic of a Sabbath, and applying it to my life in terms of the quest for peace. I realise more and more (as I get more sleep!) through the gentle help of kind friends both online and offline that I have been missing the point.

GotQuestions.org is a useful resource, and has this to say on the subject:

The apostles met and discussed the issue in the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). The decision was, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20).

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/Sabbath-keeping.html#ixzz2UfWIqleU

I also found this article useful, particularly as it highlights the following scripture:

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.” (Hebrews 4:1-5)

What struck me the most is that the apostles in Acts 15 didn’t command the keeping of the Sabbath, so who am I to do so? Surely, if it should have been “kept”, they’d have said so?

Ah, peace.


More on Sabbathing

In my last post I started discussing the mental journey I’ve been on, trying to understand the Sabbath. When we’re seeking God’s will, and try to please Him by obeying His laws, it’s useful to know what His laws are. The Ten Commandments strike me as the most logical departure point, but when I start there, I battle to understand why we’re no longer required to keep the Sabbath.

This has been troubling me for the past few years, and more and more so as I try to gain peace and clarity on the subject. There are three questions in this argument:

  1. Has the Sabbath been abolished since the death of Christ?
  2. If not, which day of the week is the Sabbath? How is it calculated?
  3. And finally, what are we allowed to do or prohibited from doing on the Sabbath.

I am investigating the first question. If you have any answers or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

As for question 2, the Sabbath isn’t a Sunday. Sunday is the first day of the week, and Saturday, therefore is the Sabbath. However, recently I stumbled across the website World’s Last Chance, where a rather different view is put forward.  According to the researchers on this site, here’s how the Sabbath works. A new month starts the very first morning after conjunction (in other words, after the sun and moon line up with one another). The seventh day after that is the Sabbath. Seven days later, another Sabbath, and so on for four weeks, until the next new moon.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything on that site, and I’m still just trying to digest and understand it all. What I do know is that I have gone for years without taking a Sabbath, and I’m exhausted. And frankly, it just seems like there must be something we’re not doing according to God’s plan, with the way things are going. So I thought, “perhaps this is it. Perhaps if we kept the Sabbath, we’d have checked all our boxes.”

Yes, I know how that sounds.

To cut a long story short, according to the calendar on the World’s Last Chance website, yesterday was this week’s Sabbath. Now, I realise that one shouldn’t take a “let’s-see-how-it-goes” approach to doing God’s will. But I did. I took the day off.

Which brings us to question 3: what can you do or shouldn’t you do on the Sabbath?

Based on my incomplete research, it boils down to: don’t do any income-gathering work, cook food, or engage in commerce of any kind. You can do good, do God’s work, do housework (*sigh*), and I haven’t yet found anything against teaching your children on the Sabbath.

How did it go? That’s another story.


See what I did there? I think I made up a word.

If you’ve read my blog a few times, you’ll probably have picked up a theme. I’m curious about a lot of things. I always want to do better, to be better. If there’s a better way to live, behave, eat, prioritise, parent – whatever it may be, I want to find the best way and then be that. It’s a continual search, and sometimes it seems like it consumes my waking hours.

This is just as true in my spiritual life as it is anywhere else. If I can do God’s will better, then surely I should?

So: Sabbaths. Or, more accurately, The Sabbath

I’ve always wondered how it can be that the Sabbath is in the Ten Commandments, and we’re expected to keep all the other nine of the Ten Commandments, that we no longer observe a day of rest? Especially when the Sabbath is the very first commandment God ever gave. Well, the first commandment He ever gave mankind. Obviously, “Let there be light” was the first recorded commandment.

But I digress. It’s been troubling my conscience more and more, trying to work out what the rules are as far as the Sabbath goes. We’re under a new dispensation, aren’t we? Jesus’ death fulfilled the law, and Paul even berates certain of the believers for their dissension over the observances of days.

Besides, the only prerequisite for getting into heaven is believing that Jesus is the Son of God, fully God yet fully man; that He came to earth to live among us; that He died to take our place, paying the ultimate price for our sin, and that He rose again within three days, glorious and victorious over death.

If that’s all I need for getting into heaven, why keep any of the laws?

The truth is, I don’t know. I’m still working it out.

I do know that we can’t keep sinning once we’re born again. It’s against the nature of the Holy Spirit within us. It just doesn’t feel right, and as we spend more time in the Word, growing in faith and understanding, things we may have glossed over before begin to stand out as glaring transgressions. Paul exhorts us in the letter to the Romans not to take advantage of our Christian liberty. If we say we have the true, living God inside of us, and we then live a life characterised by acts of disobedience to His law, we make Him a liar. Imagine you lived with a traffic cop. How inclined would you ever be to speed, talk on your cellphone while driving, not buckle up? Not very, I’m thinking. In the same way, living with the Lawmaker makes it much harder to consider breaking the Law.

Alright, so we’ve established that while we don’t need to obey the law to get saved, we can’t help but obey the law once we’re saved, since the lawmaker now takes up residence inside us. We know that the law is there for our own protection and that of others, so it makes sense to obey the law even if your only motivation is pure logic. Without God we can’t manage it, but with Him, we can do all things.

This brings me to my next question: which laws do we obey? All of them? Some of them? The most convenient ones? The not-obviously-Jewish ones? And if not those, then why not?

Being of a pharisaical bent myself, I like a To Do list. I love having the freedom of a checklist. If I can put a tick in every box, I feel safe and assured that I’m on the right track, doing what needs to be done. That’s what I love about the Ten Commandments. I know they won’t get me into heaven, but my theory is that if I’m following those, I should be showing my love for God by keeping His commandments. I don’t take His name in vain or swear. I don’t worship other gods (well, sort of. More on that tomorrow – unless this post doesn’t wrap up soon, in which case it may be the day after). I do my best to honour my parents. I’m not good at it, but I’m sure I get an “A” for effort. I don’t lie, cheat, steal or covet (mostly. Actually, I do covet: a working vehicle; a house with interior doors; an office. Chocolate).

As you go through the list, is it as glaringly obvious to you as it is to me that we just don’t seem to expect people to honour the Sabbath day anymore?

A valuable lesson?

Yesterday was Saturday. The Sabbath. And even though I made a commitment a couple of weeks ago to NOT work on the Sabbath, I have a TON of work that is due by the end of tomorrow, at least 50 hours’ worth, and if I want any chance of a Christmas with my kids I need to get it done.

So I worked.

I’ll confess to feeling very conflicted about it before I got started, but I soldiered on regardless and spent the whole day behind my laptop. (I may do something similar today).

And guess what? It was an unmitigated disaster. I have seven things to finish in the next 36 hours. I managed to utterly break two of them. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a bad work day. At least, not in a very long time. Many years.

I don’t know what would have happened if I’d honoured my commitment to trust and obey God’s commandment about the Sabbath. I don’t know if I would have been supernaturally blessed, or finished everything perfectly, faultlessly and in record speed today. All I know is that NOT honouring that commitment definitely did not heap blessings on my head.

I am grateful that God is a God of second chances.

Thoughts about the seventh day.

The biggest problem I face at the moment is lack of time. Oh, and exploding cars. But that’s another story. Since I’ve been tithing regularly, I find that our ends seem to meet so much more easily. It doesn’t make sense, but there it is. So I’ve been wondering whether the same is true of time as it is of money. I’ve done a LOT of research online recently (and lots in the Word over the past number of years). Online, there are about a million conflicting theories, but I thought I’d add my simple thoughts on the subject as I start getting ready for our family’s own Sabbath observances:

  • God created the Sabbath at creation, and intended for all mankind to keep it.
  • The Sabbath was (and is) on a Saturday.
  • Nowhere in the Bible is there any indication that we should stop sabbathing.
  • The Jewish law has harsh penalties for not keeping the Sabbath:
    • We’re not Jewish, so perhaps the penalties are less harsh, if they exist.
    • But just because the penalties aren’t there and perhaps the manner of observance is less strict, doesn’t mean the Sabbath itself ceases to exist.
  • The point of the Sabbath is to rest. To not work.
  • Sundays are still Church days, because with the way our lives are going that can actually be classed as “work”.
Where I’m going with this is that I am going to take a step of faith: for one day of each week I won’t work. I’ll do outreach or worship if the opportunity arises, but other than that I’m going to take it easy and spend time with my family. I’m nervous about it because it means I have 14.28%* less time each week to get all my work done. I hope it doesn’t result in 14.28% less income. Or 14.28% more missed deadlines. But I have faith that it’ll actually be good for our family, and for me. And in fact I think I’ll start getting more work done in the time available.
Here’s an article I’ve found very useful on the subject, which has the following summary:

12 Biblical Concepts on how to keep the Sabbath

  1. The Sabbath is a day to cease our creating, working with the creation and appreciate what God has done in the world and is doing in us. Genesis 2
  2. Elaborate food preparation is to be done on the day before the Sabbath so that there is no baking or major cooking on the Sabbath. Exodus 16
  3. The Sabbath is a time to lay our burdens down and rest. We should not do any servile work on the Sabbath. This includes our entire family, even our servants and beasts of burden and strangers who live among us. Jeremiah 17; Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5
  4. The Sabbath is an holy convocation. We should meet and worship with others. Leviticus 23
  5. We should be reverent and show God that we love, honor and respect His authority. Psalms 89:7, Habakkuk 2:20
  6. The Sabbath should be a day of delight and rejoicing, a day which we forsake our thoughts and words for God’s thoughts and words. Isaiah 56, 58
  7. The Sabbath is a time of healing. Matthew 12, Mark 1, 3, Luke 13-14
  8. We are not to buy or sell on the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13
  9. The Sabbath is a time to do good and visit and comfort the sick. We should do spiritual work on the Sabbath, serving others. John 5
  10. The Sabbath is a time of prayer. Acts 16:13
  11. The Sabbath is a time to reason with others about spiritual principles and for ministers to teach the word of God. Acts 17:2, 18:4, 11
  12. The Sabbath is a time for Singing. Ephesians 5:19-20, Colossians 3:16, Psalms 92 is called the “Sabbath Psalm”
*(Thanks convert-me.com for the percent conversion).

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