I just finished another refreshing Sabbath in Jerusalem. What a relief to put a halt to projects, to be released of all pressure, like having to deliver a product by 4pm. Sabbath is the day when you actually feel guilty if you continue working.
Pronounced Shabbat in Hebrew, it continues to be honored in Israel in accordance with the Biblical principle.
I feel for those who live in places that no longer cherish the delight of taking one full day a week to stop.
The Sabbath is biblical. Of course, there are those who would say that under the New Covenant there’s no longer any requirement to keep the Sabbath. “We are no longer under law but under grace,” many would say.
For me, the idea that the sabbath is a “requirement” doesn’t even cross my mind. Rather, the Sabbath is a delicious reward, not a legal restriction. The Sabbath is a reward of God’s grace, not a legalistic bondage.
Before the Law
Most evangelical pastors still teach the principle of tithing, even though it is not explicitly commanded in the New Testament.
One of the arguments for the continuing practice of tithing is the fact that tithing was a custom long before God downloaded the law to Moses at Sinai. Therefore, most pastors teach that this pre-Mosaic principle remains universal and timeless.
Doesn’t the Sabbath belong in the same class as tithing? The Sabbath was established and practiced by God himself long before Sinai. He took a Sabbath rest after six days of concentrated work creating the world.
We may consider doing the same. Are we not commanded to be perfect as He is perfect and pattern our lifestyles after His?
After enjoying over 1500 Sabbaths in Israel, I can testify that my weekly Sabbath is a vital source of rejuvenation and joy. The Israeli Shabbat is a day for family, fellowship and personal contemplation.
I am not insisting that Saturday is the one and only day for a Sabbath rest. I do believe, however, that setting aside at least one day a week to cease from our labor and enjoy the goodness of God and His creation is an inexplicable blessing.
Try it. You’ll like it.
Have you ever felt trapped in the rapid rhythm of life?