Too often, discussions about the importance or relevance of the Sabbath focus on what to do (or not to do) on the Sabbath. This inevitably leads to arguments which are usually unproductive.
Instead of the Do/Don’t aspect of the Sabbath, let us briefly consider its significance and relevance to us today.
The Sabbath reminds us about who God is…
The Sabbath is not just about Creation (which happened a long time ago). Yes, God is the Creator, and remembering that is very important. But, the Sabbath is also about the impact that God has in our lives right now.
The Israelites were commanded to keep three feasts onto God each year (Exodus 23:14-17), which required that all able-bodied men left their homes throughout the land of Israel and went to the sanctuary to worship. During their absence from their homes and family members, God protected them and their homes from their enemies. In a similar fashion, each Sabbath we can fully put aside the cares of our daily lives, and God will keep things in check for us as we focus only upon Him during the Sabbath hours. He is our glorious provider and sustainer, and we need not worry as we rely upon Him. This is one key blessing of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath symbolizes restoration with God…
Not only does the Sabbath provide a time of physical recovery (and I don’t mean by sleeping away Sabbath afternoon), it also provides a time of spiritual restoration. Without the distractions of our daily cares, we are free to focus on our relationship with God. We are free to reflect upon His desire for our salvation, and the work that He has already accomplished to that end. The Sabbath is like a pitstop in the journey to the Kingdom of God.
During the Sabbath hours, we can practice what it will be like to worship God totally unencumbered by sin. As we experience the joy of the Sabbath – a period of time that God has infused with His very presence, we can begin to prepare ourselves for an even more intimate experience with Him in Heaven and the Earth made new.
If we were more diligent in experiencing the benefits of the Sabbath that God has already prepared for us, we would have a far greater testimony about the beauty and relevance of the Sabbath that wouldn’t degenerate to an argument about activities which can or can’t be done during the Sabbath hours. It’s almost as if God has given us the Sabbath as a high-definition BluRay video, accompanied by a super-crisp 50” high-definition TV, but we insist on watching it on our 19” black and white TV – all the while saying, “I don’t see anything special here.”
The Sabbath is God’s, but it was made for us. There is still a little time left for us to experience its joys and blessings…