Summary: Showing God's Father's heart in making sure His children take time off.
God’s Gift of Rest
CCCAG June 18th, 2017
Scripture- Exodus 20:8-11
There was an evangelical pastor who tells a story of a time that he took his family to Israel. They landed in Tel Aviv around 7pm on a Friday night, and got to their hotel about 8:30. After they checked in, they walked down to the elevators to find a line of orthodox Jewish people waiting in line- a very long line outside of one elevator with Hebrew writing over the top, while the other elevator had zero people standing in front of it. The pastor asked someone in line if the other elevator was broken, and one of the men said no. The pastor then asked why everyone was standing in this line when there were two elevators available. The main pointed at the sign in Hebrew and said this is the Shabbat elevator, and Shabbat started over an hour ago with the sun setting. (Shabbat is Hebrew for Sabbath). The man went onto explain that the Shabbat elevator stops on every one of the 32 floors of this hotel, and then stops at every floor one the way back down, so no one had to break Shabbat by pushing a button on the elevator, as that would constitute work.
The pastor said, “So the other elevator is working fine then?” The man said, “Yes, but it doesn’t stop on every floor so we can’t take it”.
The pastor turned to his family and said, “Okay everyone, we are taking the Jesus elevator!” As the pastor and his family got on the elevator, several Jewish people from the other line pilled in behind them, each one asking the pastor to push a button for them to stop at their floor.
I guess they figured these Christians are doomed anyway, we might as well use them to get out of the long line and get to our rooms a little faster.
This story is an example of how a wise and loving gift from God can be misinterpreted and misapplied to a degree that really puts a burden on people that God never intended.
In addition to the elevators, consider what other Shabbat rules would guide those orthodox Jews hotel stay-
All of those people who rode the elevator with the pastor would have to call room service in order for them to have light in their room, because flipping the light switch on would also be considered work.
Who did room service at the Jewish hotels? Gentiles!
To obey Shabbat, the staff at the hotel would have to go around Friday afternoon and untwist the light bulb in the refrigerator so that if they opened the door to get something, it would not turn on a light, as activating a switch that causes electricity flowing through the lightbulb and making visible light would constitute work.
Most of us have never had to experience things like that, but you can see things like this even in America at the Milwaukee Jewish Home- which is an assisted living and nursing home for Jewish people, or certain precincts in Chicago depending on the devoutness of the person in question.
But what does Shabbat, or the Sabbath Day mean to us as Christians. Since our roots are in Judaism, do all of those restrictions matter to us today? Some Christian denominations like The 7th Day Adventists and messianic Jewish people still follow many of the Sabbath Day regulations. But, Most of us do not.
But obviously it’s very important to God as HE spoke it to the Hebrews at Mt. Sinai and included it in the 10 Commandments. Violating Shabbat rules was a capital crime before Jesus came. In fact, part of the Pharisee’s problems with Jesus was Him supposedly violating the Sabbath rules and that led the religious leadership of Jerusalem to plot against Him and eventually pressure Pilate to put Him to death.
So lets begin today by looking at the commandment as written, explore the ancient applications, history, and meaning behind it, and then look at how we are to view and apply it to our lives today-
Exodus 20:8-11 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Prayer- that we may honor God’s gift to us