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Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy


All seven days of the week belong to the Lord. The seventh day has a special significance, because God completed creation in six days, and rested on that seventh day. So “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Gen 2:3 Yes, God rested and for that reason wants us also to rest and be refreshed. Ex 23:12

When the Israelites run out of food in the wilderness en-route to the Promised Land, God provided manna for them; they were allowed to collect enough manna for only a day at a time. Any manna left over from the previous day went bad. That however, did not pose a problem for the Sabbath as one would have thought. The fact that the manna didn’t keep overnight did not excuse anybody from dishonoring the Sabbath day. They had permission to gather twice as much food on the sixth day in order to have enough stored up for the next day. God planned for the manna to stay fresh overnight only when it was gathered on the sixth day in preparation for the Sabbath day (so that there would be no manna gathering on that day). That’s how important it is for God that we observe the Sabbath, keeping it holy (Ex 16:14-30). God does not give us commands for no good reason. If He says it, it means it is important.

One of the Ten Commandments states, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Ex 20:8-11 (See also Deut 5:12-14)

When Nehemiah went to lead the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, he made a very disturbing observation. The people were desecrating the Sabbath day by working, selling, and buying. Ne 13:15-18 He rebuked the leaders and took action to remedy the situation by ensuring the city gates were shut on the evening before the Sabbath day, and stayed shut till the end of the same. In addition, he positioned guards at the city gates to ensure that no merchandise was brought in to the city on the Sabbath day. Ne 13:19 In Isaiah 58:13-14, the Lord promised to bless the Israelites in wonderful ways if they would, call the Sabbath a delight, honorable, and actually honoring it.

We can see that God is very passionate about the Sabbath and wants us to be as well. However, He does not want us to be dogmatic about it. Our lives on the Sabbath day and all the other days have to honor God. What good is a Sabbath day of not working, but full of hatred, quarrels, and the like? What we do on the Sabbath should define it in its totality. Should we, or should we not, help a neighbor in trouble on a Sabbath? Jesus tried on numerous occasions to define the Sabbath for the Pharisees who quite often took the law out of context. They accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Sabbath when they saw them pick grains on the Sabbath. They picked the grains because they were hungry, not because they were working. Jesus’ response was, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mk 2:27 (also see Mat 12:8). On another occasion, the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking Him if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. After giving them a self-explanatory illustration, He said to them, “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Mat 12:12b (See also M k 3:1-4)

This is not a question about which day of the week is the Sabbath, instead it is seeking to discuss the purpose of the Sabbath and how to observe it in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. How do people typically observe the Sabbath these days? Besides going to Church, there are a few other things we can do differently in obedience to God’s command. In Nehemiah, the Israelites made some very serious promises to God including, “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or any holy day.” Chapter 10:31 So what should the body of Christ do differently on the Sabbath day? Since we are under grace and not under law, we should treat it as Christ would, honor God in all that we do!

I am a retired Registered Nurse. I was a neonatal nurse for over 30 years. I now work part time as an RN Auditor. I have been writing poems for about 10 years, but haven’t been published. This study was inspired by Nehemiah’s concern about the Sabbath.

Copy May 21, 2012, Pearl Nsiah-Kumi

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

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