“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” – Hebrews 4:9
While it is true that maintaining a strong, healthy relationship with the Lord requires a lot of work, it also necessitates periods of rest and reflection. The Sabbath is the day which our Lord and Savior has set aside specifically for rest and renewal; it is the time to distance ourselves from earthly distractions and find peace in His love.
In the Old Testament, God put forth the idea that the lives of every soul should settle into a healthy, comfortable rhythm– a rhythm which consists of six days of work punctuated by a day of rest and recuperation, otherwise known as the Sabbath. According to Genesis, the Sabbath is the time to, “cease our creating” so that we may “appreciate what God has done in the world and is doing in us.” It is impossible to truly express gratitude when we spend all of our time focusing on activities we consider ‘productive,’ like our jobs and other projects. If you get too caught up in work, it may be all too easy to lose sight of the Lord. As was said in Isaiah, “The Sabbath should be a day of delight and rejoicing” in our Creator’s words, thoughts and actions. It is the day when we must distance ourselves from distractions of the flesh, and instead meditate on all that God has done.
But wait a moment, you might be saying. The Sabbath is honored by Jewish people! It doesn’t apply to Christians!
Wrong. The Sabbath is not only for Jewish people. As Mark 2:27 says so concisely, “The Sabbath was made for man.”
Contrary to popular belief, the Sabbath was designated for rest and respect long before the first Jewish people came to be. To be precise, the Sabbath was set apart from the other days during the creation of the universe. Before the Fall of Man, and after creating everything we know today, God Himself rested on the seventh day. Not only did he rest; he “blessed” and “sanctified” this day. ‘Sanctify,’ in case you did not know, is the act of designating something for spiritual or holy purposes. In the beginning, this day was set apart for the only people on Earth: Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve, needless to say, were not Jewish.
The idea that the Sabbath is only for Jews also falls apart if you consider the other nine commandments given to us by God. No one would go so far as to suggest that the other nine commandments were strictly for Jewish people, so why would you make the argument that the Sabbath is the exception? God gave us the Ten Commandments. You would not hesitate to follow “Thou shalt not kill,” or “do not bear false witness,” so why would you forsake the Sabbath? As Christians, it is our duty to follow God’s Word as it is given to us. We do not have the right to pick and choose among the commandments as they suit our wants, likes, or ego.
Still not convinced? Here are two more passages to consider:
1) Exodus 20:10. In this passage, God says that the Sabbath is HIS holy day, not ‘the holy day for the Jews.’ The day of rest does not belong to the Jewish people, but to the Lord. Within the fourth commandment, God tells us that the Sabbath is for even the “stranger.” Biblically, the ‘stranger’ is anyone who is non-Jewish. That means, according to the Bible, all of mankind should rest and reflect on the holy day of the Sabbath. This means meditation.
2) Isaiah 66:22,23. In this passage, the Bible says that the Lord has told us this: “all flesh” shall praise and worship the Lord “from one Sabbath to another.” “All flesh” doesn’t sound like it is speaking only about the Jewish people, does it? No! That is because the Sabbath is for every man, woman and child who follows God’s teachings.
In today’s world, the Sabbath is one of the most-neglected aspects of following a path of faith and worship. Many of us, in the quest to stay busy and lead fruitful lives, fall into the dangerous trap of worshiping work when we should instead be worshiping the Lord. This does not mean that the Sabbath was meant for lounging on the couch and watching Netflix! Instead, treat the Sabbath as a day set aside for the practice of Christian meditation. Use it as a period of active rest and rejuvenation in which you take the time to strengthen your relationship with God.
Use tools such as Christian meditation to help me transition into the Sabbath and draw closer to God. A Sabbath rest could begin after dinner on Friday or Saturday evening and continue until after dinner on Saturday or Sunday. Use the Sabbath as a mental, emotional, and physical reset as well as to release any cares and concerns to the Lord. It can also be a time of worship, fellowship, spending time in nature, reading, and plain old sleeping. If you don’t have much time to spend with Yeshua during the week, honoring the Sabbath can help to build and keep your connection with the Lord strong.