What has caused believers everywhere to think that honoring the Sabbath is now optional? Somehow, for many of us “commandment” has become “suggestion” and that really only if you feel like it. Jesus honored the Sabbath so if our intention is to imitate Him (and it should be!) we would still set aside one full day out of every seven as the Lord’s Day. For twenty four hours we would put our focus, energy, and attention on God and Him alone. (And let’s not get distracted by whether that day should be Saturday or Sunday—chances are the ones having that argument aren’t honoring either day so what are they squabbling about!) The point is that God directed His followers to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy unto Him and He has never announced any change in that instruction since He first uttered it.
Let’s take a look at this commandment as it has been handed down to us. You can check it for loop-holes if you’d like but you will find none.
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:9-11
An interesting pattern emerges—in the first book of the Bible God rests on the seventh day and in the next four books, He clearly states that He expects His followers to do the same. He even gives instructions for extending a Sabbath rest to the land; to fields and fruit bearing trees. It certainly appears as if God is serious about this. The question remains—why aren’t we?
My guess is that we have been duped by the enemy AGAIN! You see, most people are completely unaware of the truth that God only commands when He intends it to be a blessing. His instructions provide a shield of protection. The devil knows this and so he creates a strategy of deception to pull people away from the blessing…just as he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Imagine a scenario where I command you to come to my house once a week on a specified day to pick up a wrapped brick and take it to your home. Immediately the thoughts are likely to come to you: “Why do I have to come to her? Who does she think she is to be giving me direction? And who needs these heavy brick things anyway? It’s probably just a trick to get me to carry heavy stuff for her. And doesn’t she know that I only have that one day off for my own recreation? Why should I give up my one day off for her?” So very negative! But because you don’t really know me, you’re likely to assume the worst. Now imagine your remorse when you discover those bricks I told you to take home are gold bullion and that I had wrapped them to keep you from being robbed. What will you feel like when you recall all the days you never came to pick up the gold because you were too busy having your fun? You missed the blessing because you bought the lies. Unfortunately this is just the way we think about God (with some prompting from the devil, if necessary.) Because we don’t know Him personally, it’s easy to assume the worst about Him.
That’s the problem. We have believed the lie that God just wants us to bow down to Him and do as He says because He’s power-hungry. We’ve fallen for the foolish belief that our time is best spent as we desire because we know what’s best for us. We never even consider that the One who created us just might have something so wonderful in store that He felt it was worth a command to make sure we wouldn’t miss it.
The spirit and heart of the Sabbath is that God wants us to rest and be renewed. He desires our fellowship so He can share in an intimate and loving relationship with each one of us. A day in His presence will shift our perspective; gazing on Him will produce perfect peace. In this hectic, frenzied world, our Good Shepherd is offering a lush, green oasis of joy and refreshment. Whatever it takes to enter into His rest…do it!
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:10-11