This is my favorite day of the week. Let me list a few of the reasons that I enjoy it so much. First my parents celebrated Sabbath well when I was growing up. Sabbath we went to the beach, played in parks, read wonderful books, hiked so many beautiful places, and had great family times together.
I love Sabbath also because it is time when I can let go of all the stress in my life. I am not doing other people’s business. I am free to enjoy the sacred hours without stressing about anything. I am perfectly happy to let God be God, and me just be His child. At least most of the time… I occasionally let this world’s concerns and crisis interrupt my joy.
Where does Sabbath worship start and how?
Let’s look at the story of Genesis. God makes the world and declares it good or very good over and over until you get to Sabbath then it changes a bit. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 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. 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.” Genisis 2:1-3
In Genisis it only talks of it as the 7th day and God resting but in Exodus when God is bringing His people back to Him it calls it the Sabbath “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. Exodus 16:24-29 This is the story as they travel in the wilderness of God sending manna to feed them. Six days a week they gathered manna from the ground.
Then the ten commandments are given to the children of Israel in Exodus twenty and the Sabbath is outlined as to it’s keeping further. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 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: 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.” Exodus 20:8-11 Here again we have a blessed and hallowed Sabbath day. A day not to work or conduct business but a day to spend time with family and friends enjoying God’s creation. Service to others is also part of this picture when we look at what Jesus did.
We have examples of how Jesus spent Sabbath while he was here.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath A trap set by enemies was met with wisdom in Mattew 12:11-12 “And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”
In John 5:9 Jesus is again healing a man this time a lame man. “And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath” In John 9:14 Jesus heals a blind man. “And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.” So healing of mind body and soul are always positive and a part of Jesus’ life here on earth.
Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath in Mark 1:21 “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.”
Luke 4:16, and 31 tells the story of Him teaching in the synagogue as was His custom “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom. was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” And again later in Capernaum. “And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.”
In Matthew 12:1 Jesus answers questions about his disciples eating on the sabbath “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.” Eating has always been one of my favorite parts of Sabbath. It was Jewish tradition not to eat something you picked, while out walking through the fields on Sabbath. Yet Jesus encouraged His disciples to eat, to enjoy, to savor the time.
One of my favorite things to do as part of worship is sing and there are a number examples in the Bible of singing on the Sabbath as well as other days. Psalms_92:1 “A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:”
Isaiah_56:2 “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.”
Isaiah_58:13,14 “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: 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.” This is a promise that God blesses those not just with the immediate blessing associated with the keeping of the sabbath, but with more, through all eternity!
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