Remembering the Sabbath

“remember the sabbath and keep it holy”

A fragment of the commandments that’s been tightly woven into the fabric of my mind since I was little, thanks to the mnemonic devices instilled in me in vacation bible school. I know it. I can recite it.

But does the remembrance of The Lord’a Day resonate within our hearts? Where does Exodus 20:8-11 fit into our lives in 2017?

To be holy is to be “set apart.” Whether they are actually in pursuit of holiness or not, there are some that stand out in my mind in how they navigate their sabbath;

I’ve spent some time in Israel and have observed Orthodox Jews abiding strictly to the rest of their Shabbat, or sabbath in which they are unable to push elevator buttons, drive a car, or even turn on a light. I’ve also heard the commendation of Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby both with no hours of operation on Sundays. I’ve witnessed the turned-up noses towards the families that let their kids play in basketball tournaments on the weekends instead of sitting in a pew.

For a while I thought remembering the sabbath meant your day looked like church, a big Sunday lunch, and an even bigger Sunday nap.

Here’s what the Bible has to say about the sabbath:

The first we see it is at the end of creation when God rested.

Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. 

God didn’t need to rest, Isaiah tells us that He never grows tired or weary. He was simply setting an example for us to rest in Him and reflect on His goodness. In the New Testament Jesus is questioned for working on the sabbath and when questioned He responds:

Mark 2:27-28  Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Meaning that, again, the sabbath exists to help serve man in resting in a spirit of remembrance of God’s faithfulness and His hand in our lives. When meticulously remembering the Lord’s day becomes detrimental to the Christian life, it’s out of line with God’s original intent. Even more so, Jesus claims that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, not those who keep it.
Paul understands the meaning of remembering the sabbath in his epistle to the Colossians stating that it’s not a functional savior, only Jesus has that power of redemption.

Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

In Hebrews we also read that God IS our Sabbath rest.

Hebrews 4:9-11 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

Our eternal security is in Christ alone and not through works. We have the freedom to cease from our works to rest in Him, continue to reflect on His goodness, and praise Him for His faithfulness.

Chick-Fil-A may only be open 6 days a week, but thank God we are able to enjoy Him and all He has to offer every single day.

Hannah Heinzler is a graduate of Drury University and Staff Writer for Kingdom Tribe Press

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