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Observing the Sabbath

August 2, 2012

As I think about it, God put on my heart to observe the Sabbath over a year ago. I had just read Family Sanctuary, by Dr. John D. Garr, and was profoundly moved by the notion that families do not need to be redefined by current cultural beliefs, but must be brought back to biblical foundations, specifically the Hebraic roots of our Christian faith.  In those roots we can see God intends our homes to be small sanctuaries, centers for spiritual growth and maturity, places of sanctity and security.  Essentially temples in miniature.  As structure for us to hold our family sanctuary, God created for us a time sanctuary where he will meet us.

In reality, the only true sanctuary is one that is built in time.  This is the one sanctuary that God himself built: a time capsule.  He did so at the conclusion of his act of creation.  The last thing that God made was a sanctuary, a temple in time.  After six days of creative activity, God set apart for all eternity the seventh day as time for relationships.  He created a sanctuary in time, the Sabbath.

Time is the one thing that cannot be destroyed by enemies.  It is the one thing that cannot be eroded by elements or obliterated by nature’s convulsive and cataclysmic upheavals.  No matter what the physical situation, one can withdraw into the sanctuary of time to worship the Creator and be with family and community.  Each person controls what he does with time.  Dr. John D. Garr

God sanctified and blessed the Sabbath.  Interesting to note the Sabbath is the only immaterial thing that God ever blessed.  He knew that creation would need a time for divine rest and renewal.  One of the most difficult things for men and women to do in our onward and upward society is rest and enjoy God and family.  The word Shabbat (Sabbath) is from the root shevet which literally means “to sit down.”  God knew we would need a moment interrupting the rushing forward movement of the week, a time of rest.

More important than rest even is the Sabbath’s sanctuary of time.  This sanctuary gives us the opportunity to be in and strengthen our relationships with God and family, both our immediate families and that of the “corporate human family.”  The Sabbath time is made for everyone, but first the “appointment” has to be kept.

When God’s children match this divine appointment with time set apart on their calendars, a miracle of spiritual renewal and physical regeneration takes place.  This is why God made time management one of his ten preeminent instructions for the human race.  “Remember the Sabbath to keep it set apart,” he commanded.  God realized from the moment of man’s creation that time management was as important to human well-being as was avoiding murder, theft, and adultery.  The truth that man usually does not understand is that more can be accomplished in six blessed days than in seven unblessed.  Dr. John D. Garr

Why the Sabbath?

The Sabbath was given to us for a time of physical rest and refreshment.  It wasn’t designed to be a burden.  Mark 2:27 (New Living Translation) tells us what Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”  Praise God for grace!  Amen?!

The Sabbath is a time for spiritual rest and refreshment. It is a time to remember that Christ was our passover lamb and we are free from slavery.  So then the Sabbath is also commemoration of our freedom in Christ, a time to come together to worship God and fellowship with God’s people.

The Sabbath is for works of mercy.  In John 9 we see Jesus perform the miracle of healing the blind man.  He could have spoken the words of healing but he chose to work by making mud and rubbing it on the man’s eyes.  Jesus then told the man to go and wash.  When he did he was healed.  In John 5: 8 & 11, Jesus tells the lame man “Get up.  Take up your mat and walk.”  The man was instantly healed.  Jesus did these things to show that we should indeed stop from our regular business and money making activities, but we are allowed to do work with a different purpose, that of showing mercy.

The Sabbath is also a day of feast and hospitality.  In Leviticus 23:1 & 2 the very first feast included in God’s instructions to Moses was the Sabbath feast.  A day to be kept holy for the Lord.  Isaiah 25:6-8 tells us about the Lord preparing a feast for his people.  Again in Revelation 3:20 the Lord says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  Hebrews 13:1 & 2 reminds us to entertain strangers.  We’re reminded to offer hospitality without grumbling in 1 Peter 4:9.  The scriptures are full of God’s desire for us to feast and show hospitality.  The Sabbath is a perfect day to have the best food and share it with others, but the key to a restful Sabbath is…

PREPARATION!!

At The Reformation of Food & the Family Conference Chef Francis Foucachon shared a wonderful presentation on the keys to a restful Sabbath.  These were some his recommendations:

1.  Be proactive!  You need to get ready for the Sabbath rather than just letting it happen.  Lack of preparation indicates a lack of value, so if we truly value the Time Sanctuary God has given us, we have to prepare in advance for the pinnacle of our week.  Do things like:

  • Make a list of what needs to be done
  • Prepare the food for Sunday earlier in the week
  • Set the Sunday table on Saturday

2.  Master a few meals.  Pick out 2 or 3 meal plans and then practice on your family and get the preparation down to the point that it is routine.

3.  Each family member, from the youngest to the oldest, should have the privilege of helping in preparations.  Get some index cards and on them list the tasks for each person to do, both for the meal and house preparations.  If you have already planned the work and everyone knows what is expected, the work will go quickly.

4.  After you have mastered the meals rotate them as you invite people over.  Another great use of index cards would be having a card for each of your guests and write down what you served them that way you won’t serve them the same thing too often.

5.  Lastly, choose dishes that are not going to tie you up right when your guest arrive.  Remember you want to spend time with your guests (hospitality is an act of mercy) so don’t be kept in the kitchen while your guests are left to entertain themselves!

My family has begun to incorporate these tips and I know we have more work to do.  But I am reminded of Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  This life is a journey and we’re all just taking steps, seeking the Lord, and finding Him faithful all along the way.  I’m more determined then ever to step into His Time Sanctuary where the miraculous happens!

(Linked to Little Natural Cottage and The Morris Tribe)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. ladydorothy permalink
    August 2, 2012 1:51 pm

    One of my favorite sessions, too! I understood (though not often really practiced) the first two reasons for the Sabbath that you listed, but the second two were eye-openers for me. Especially the works of mercy. Hearing this teaching has rocked my world!

  2. Leslie Lisa permalink
    August 14, 2012 10:17 am

    Today we are NOT under the law but under grace. We are not under the Sabbath today and that is clearly taught in scripture. You are not a jew under the law. You are a member of the body of Christ. We are not an extension of Israel but a NEW creature! All things have become new!

    • August 15, 2012 7:38 am

      Leslie, thank you for sharing your comment. I agree we are under grace and Jesus, by dying on the cross, fully became our Sabbath rest. Hebrews 4:9-11 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” This refers to entering into salvation-rest by faith not following the Israelites example in the desert.

      I think you will agree that especially in the world today, where we are so inundated with technologies and busy schedules it is near impossible to find quiet moments to rest from our work and find our rest in Christ (communing with Him in quiet prayer and worship.) I confess there are probably many families who are more dedicated to creating time to spend with Jesus in their daily life, however unless my personal time is literally scheduled I quickly find that I’ve gotten distracted, moved on, and forgotten my best laid plans to spend time with Him. My following the Sabbath in the true sense of a day set aside specifically for ceasing my regular work, spending time with my immediate family and church family, sharing in hospitality, and most importantly spending quiet time with the Lord, creates space in my life for this to happen.

      Here at The Provision Room we are not encouraging anyone to be bound up in the Old Testament Law, because we know it will ultimately separate us from Christ our Savior.

      “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6b

      I would encourage to read our Prayer Post this week as it talks about the power of rest in our lives.

  3. January 23, 2014 6:57 am

    Perhaps this article would be interesting to your readers. The Sabbath can be either a blessing or a curse, depending whether it is approached through the law or grace.
    http://youarecompleteinhim.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/sabbath-a-blessing-or-curse/

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