Summary: A closer look at the observance of the Sabbath

Weekend Message/Devotion

June 3, 2018

Mark 2:23-3:6

Keeping the Sabbath Holy

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

This is a subject that always brings out responses from extreme legalism to extreme liberal interpretation.

“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27

What does that mean to you? To me, the most important point is in the purpose for the observance of the Sabbath. Sabbath means set aside. It can mean a cessation. God ordained the Sabbath in the very beginning.

“And on the seventh day God ended 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.” Genesis 2:2-3

God gave very specific instructions for the observance of the Sabbath:

“Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Exodus 31:13

It is very intriguing to me to view so many different interpretations and practices dealing with this subject. But when it boils down to the nitty-gritty, it gets very basic. Either we observe the Sabbath as a day set aside to rest and worship or we don’t.

Of course, there will be times when situations occur that demand attention and even labor on the Sabbath. Jesus makes it very clear that these occurrences will require us to respond, even on the Sabbath.

“Then He answered them, saying, ‘Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?’” Luke 14:5

From time to time, I have observed a manufacturing or exaggeration of “the ox in a ditch” as an excuse to explain away certain actions and activities on the Sabbath. To God’s instructions and will for us. I am reminded of some very ill advised poor humor from my childhood. At Lent every year, we all received “mite boxes” in which to place coins garnered from the savings from our Lenten sacrifices. We were always sharing with each other what it was that we “gave up” for Lent. Overhearing some of us, an adult relative stated, “I gave up sugar cane and watermelon” with a guffaw. We thought that was funny at the time. Today, in retrospect I find it appalling and demeaning of the spirit of sacrifice during Lent.

And then the subject of whether we are to observe the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday. This aspect comes closer to the bondage of legalism than the actual observance of the Sabbath. As far as I am concerned it becomes a matter of semantics. We can of our own choosing decide whether to observe a regular day of rest and worship every seven days. We are free from the bondage of the law and so the issue is that we observe according to God’s will.

We who seek to do God’s will do indeed observe a regular day of rest and worship. REGULARLY every seven days. Even the secular world for the most part sets weekend days and especially Sunday to cease work activities.

As for me and my house, we shall observe the Sabbath on Sundays. We shall also respect the choice of others to observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.

What say you?

Let us pray -

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