What is Sabbath?

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work..."

Exodus 20:8-10a ESV

What is Sabbath? In part it is a day for relieving spiritual and physical burdens. Ultimately, it is a day for being with God and allowing him to inspire us to do good for the sake of doing good. Scripture is clear that it is not a day for achieving personal gain.

Once a week on specifically the 7th day we set aside time for delighting in the Lord, for worshiping and honoring him with our dedicated service. On this holy day we are prohibited from engaging in work which is required for providing for our personal needs. 

While our contemporary association with work also includes physical labor, this is not the intent of the 4th commandment. Sabbath is an invitation to spiritual rest which we enter into by faith. It is a day where we are free to have special communion with God as well as minister to the needs of others.

God intended for the Sabbath to be a time where we rest and rejoice in his salvation. In the light of his mercy toward us we extend mercy to others with the intent of pointing them to their creator.

The specifics of how we observe Sabbath are deeply personal. What draws the heart and mind out toward God for one may not for another. Because we are only given broad principles and not narrow guidelines regarding Sabbath observance, we have the privilege of being gracious toward those who may engage the day differently than we do.

Each of us has a particular culture or perspective which influences the way we apply scripture. Our culture informs our opinions. Sometimes it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish between biblical principles and a particular cultural adaptation of a principle. 

When it comes to Sabbath observance, if we are refraining from self-benefiting labor both mentally and physically, and engaging our energies for the good of others, we can do so with a clear conscience. 

Still Seeking His Face,

Pastor Andrew

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