Tuesday: A Time for Enjoyment

(Mark 2:27-28)

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Many who claim to keep the Sabbath do not always understand what Sabbath keeping entails. As did some of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, people even today have imprisoned the Sabbath behind rigid walls of rules and regulations (while others have almost made it a day no different than any other). The Sabbath is supposed to be a delight, not a burden, but it is still a day to be kept holy.

During the time when Jesus walked this earth, some of the religious leaders had surrounded the Sabbath with thirty-nine other commandments. They reasoned that if people could keep the thirty-nine laws, then the Sabbath would be perfectly kept. As a result of this well-intentioned law-making, the Sabbath-which was intended to be a joy-did, indeed, become a yoke to many.

Carefully read Mark 2:23-28. Why did the disciples pluck grain? Does the text indicate that Jesus participated with the disciples? What biblical laws were being violated, if any?

As Jesus and His hungry disciples walked through a field one Sabbath, the disciples decided to satisfy their hunger by plucking grain. Although it was not their field, their actions were permissible under the law of Moses (see Deut. 23:25), even if the Pharisees interpreted it as a violation of another Mosaic law that forbade plowing and harvesting on the Sabbath (see Exod. 34:21). Apparently, Jesus did not partake of the grain; nonetheless, He took the time to defend the disciples’ actions. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that even David and his men had eaten the forbidden sanctuary bread when hungry.

In Mark 2:27-28, Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for the benefit of humans, not vice versa. In other words, the Sabbath was not made to be worshiped, but rather to provide opportunities for worship. As God’s gift to all humans, the Sabbath is not meant to oppress but to provide release and liberation. It is truly a way to experience our rest and freedom in Christ.

What are some things that you can do on the Sabbath that you can’t so easily do other days of the week? Think through this question, and bring your answers to class on Sabbath.



Tuesday: A Time for Enjoyment — 62 Comments

  1. Sabbath as I remember it as a child had to be the worst day of the week. My friends were out playing while I was forbidden because it was Sabbath. Sometimes my mother managed to scrape enough money together so that she could take my siblings and myself to the Botanical Gardens in Sydney for a Sabbath afternoon. We sometimes visited the museum as well. I am afraid to say it, but the museum reminded me of church. But the botanical gardens was an enjoyment.

    Today I see myself as recovering from Sabbath trauma and truly learning about how to remember the Seventh Day. I don't think it was God's intention to force a day on us and then tell us to enjoy it or else. We are really meant to enjoy it. If we or our children don't enjoy the Sabbath hours then there is something wrong.

    Nowadays I see the Sabbath as a day of fellowship. Quality fellowship with God, quality fellowship with family, and quality fellowship with fellow believers or my church family. I see Sabbath as a time where I need to go out of my way to meet with people where they are at.

    Today I don't see any problem with kicking a ball around a field on Sabbath with people I am not going to see until next Sabbath, and just enjoying their company. I find it restful. I also enjoy a good bush walk, or even to relax by a river somewhere. I have a favourite mountain where I love to go and just sit and look, when I get the chance. Whenever I do these things, I find that God is there. That to me is what makes Sabbath a special time.

    • The impression may be inadvertently conveyed that restrictions are inherently objectionable. This largely depends on perspective; that is carnal versus spiritual (Romans 8:7, 8). Some restrictions are actually beneficial.

      One problem is parents do not spend enough time with children, teaching and showing them how to enjoy sacred things on Sabbath. Children get bored easily and may crave the ‘fun’ activities they are used to in the week. That which is meant to uplift may be seen as punishment by one (especially a child) who does not understand what is happening.

      There are those who grow up with gratitude for certain restrictions, and along the way set their love for God and obeying Him above the ‘fun’ things they had to give up for a time. And they do not feel cheated in the end.

      If there is little regard for holiness then in the quest for delight one is likely to get involved in questionable activity, and think nothing of it. The only way to both keep the Sabbath holy and experience delight is to develop an enjoyment of holiness, which includes serving others, and not simply one’s own interests/inclinations. Delight in that which is spiritual is not natural or inherited. It has to be cultivated and increases as the mind is renewed (Romans 12:2).

        • Well, I think sometimes people gauge "holiness" by "feel"; so I'd also like an explanation of this from Bro. Dalhouse if possible.

        • Brothers Owen & Andrew,
          ‘Carnal’ in general refers to the fallen human nature. It is what we all start with until we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

          Holiness is determined by God. He defines what is holy or unholy and how such is preserved.

          It is ill-advised for diverse reasons to prepare a Sabbath ‘holy list’ of activities (which would likely be debated), although some of this is unavoidable in our own minds. That is to say, at some point we naturally identify certain activities we deliberately engage in and certain things we particularly avoid in a necessary conscious effort to keep the Sabbath holy.

          Suffice it to say the Lord declared the Sabbath Holy and in various scripture texts gave us specific commands and guidelines concerning what holiness means in the context of Sabbath keeping. Others have listed some of these texts recently. It is analogous (not identical) to holiness in relation to the temple (Matthew 12:1-8).

          Further we have counsel through spirit of prophecy (to the extent it is appreciated). We may not understand the reason for every prescribed limit or prohibition. Note that Satan used Eve’s lack of understanding to deceive her; got her to disagree with instructions; and eventually disobey. We are as children (if we can accept that) growing up in grace, and understanding things a little better day by day.

          Beyond that the Spirit speaks with us individually impressing us more directly concerning things which were not explicit from previous inspiration. A greater consciousness of holiness comes from a closer relationship with Christ. There is a joy or delight which comes from common ‘fun’ things, and then there is a greater joy or delight which comes from giving up common ‘fun’ things for another. This takes place in marriage, even marriage to the Lord.

        • Hugh, I have taken my time to reply to your post because I wanted to carefully consider my words. I agree with you that if there is little regard for holiness then the quest for delight might end up in questionable activity. But the question remains, what is holiness?

          Exodus 34:6-7 Gives us some of the attributes of God that are part of His holiness. There are words like compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, loving kindness, forgiving. I can also add patience, humility and other attributes to this list.

          These things is what it means to be holy. The opposite of these things is carnal. We need to be holy every day of the week. The Sabbath is a day where we go out of our way to be holy. It means that if we have wronged someone during the week because our carnal mind got the better of us, Sabbath is the day we make it right.

          More than that, six days of the week are given to us to fulfil our own needs. Sabbath holiness means that we go out of our way to look after the needs of others. This is Sabbath holiness.

          It is these things that make Sabbath a delight.

        • Owen, the word "holy" is translated from the Hebrew qodesh (קֹדֶשׁ) which simply means something separate or something dedicated such as the sanctuary (qodesh; Ex 36:1, 3, 4, 6 etc.) that consisted of the holy (qodesh) and the most holy (qodesh; Ex 26:33). In the Greek the word is hagios (ἅγιος) which comes from hagos (an awful thing) which in the Septugent is translated from the Hebrew qodesh. The word is used in such places as 1 Cor 1:2 where the members of that corrupt church were sanctified (hagiazo, from the same Greek root) are called to be saints (hagios), that is separate from the world.
          We can come up with all kinds of ways that we can be separate but the one thing I know is that God is the superlative example of what that means. Isaiah 45 states in seven places in that chapter that God is unique that besides Him, "there is no other" (Isa. 45:6 NKJV). In chapter 55 God further defines what that means to us, " For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8-9 NKJV).

        • I think Brother Owen is spot on.
          "Holiness" to many people feels like a starched suit, very little activity and a Catholic choir singing "Amen!" in a high soprano.

          Overall it implies keeping to oneself and trying not to be "defiled".

          I like brother Owen's summary of true holiness. True holiness is very active and other-centred (just like our God) and less and less hindered by the nagging thought that God might be mad at me because I did "X" (some obscure un-sabbatical thing) today.

        • The problem with certain words are that they are not concrete, they are what I call fluffy words. Holiness is a fluffy word. So is the term "being separate". They are fluffy because you have to look elsewhere for their true meaning. These words also are a lot easier to use out of context. Why is this so? They are very subjective. When ever a fluffy word is used, you have to ask yourself what the author means by the use of that word.

          The words holiness, righteousness, delight, are very fluffy words. They are words we can use to make us feel good and others bad, ie "doing holy things", "you cant do this, it is not holy."

          You can even end up using circular arguments to justify yourself, arguments that confuse others, ie "How should we be holy? By being separate", "How should we be separate? by being holy".

          I am sorry to have to say this but fluffy words give Pharisees something to hide behind. Their use, out of context, confuses the immature Christian.

        • Owen,
          We clearly agree on some things, especially serving others.

          One compound question though:

          Based on your understanding of Sabbath holiness (including the forgiveness aspect, although one might not want to wait for Sabbath) would it then be okay to go on expedition hiking, play soccer, catch the olympics or playoffs, or watch the latest Holywood blockbuster movie on Sabbath, as long as these activities are holy enough for the other week days?

        • Hugh, why should you judge?

          Isn't the question of suitability then be between the individual person and God?

          I have gone and watched a soccer match between two teams on Sabbath. But only for the sake of a particular player who it meant something to. That player is now a baptised member of our church. But I actually find watching sport quite boring.

          Jesus demonstrated that compassion for people far outweighs the arbitrary boundaries we place on ourselves. What is it to you if I decide to go to turn up at a birthday party of somebody I care about that happens to be on Sabbath? I go for the sake of the person who invited me, not for my own sake. If somebody I knew happened to be an Olympic athlete and it meant so much to them that I be there for them as they competed, I would go for their sake. But I really do hate watching any form of sport.

          I know that somebody might say that I am compromising my faith by doing these things. But show me a clear principle from the Bible where it is wrong.

          We forget that the underlying principle behind the Law of God is love. Love for God and love for our neighbour. An important aspect of loving our neighbour is that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. This is a profound statement. It means that we also need to love ourselves. If we don't love ourselves, how can we love others.

          What is the reason for keeping the law? Do we keep it to try and earn God's love, like we do a fickle parent who says they wont love us unless we comply? If this is true, then we will never know love and we will never be able to give true love.

          God first loved us. It means we don't have to earn it. We learn to love him in return by the love He has shown us. We learn to love ourselves because of the value God puts on us. We learn to love other people because we learn that as well as valuing us, He also values everybody. He wants to fellowship with them too.

          If love is the principle behind the Law, and this includes the Sabbath, then out of love we should be going out of our way to meet people where they are at. This is what it is all about.

  2. Why did Jesus allow his disciples to break the Sabbath and harvest grain?

    1) Some believe it is because Jesus had done away with the Sabbath, however when questioned why he allowed the disciples to harvest grain He did not say the commandment had been canceled.

    2) Jesus seems to answer that in some cases it is allowed to break the commandment, by giving the example of David and his men eating from the show bread. This actually is an argument some Rabbis could understand for they too allowed the Sabbath to be violated for various reasons including circumcision, pulling and ox out of a ditch, etc. and yes the Rabbis even allowed the Sabbath to be broken for health care in certain cases (obviously Jewish hospitals do not close on the Sabbath or their emergency rooms and religious observant staff still treat people even on the Sabbath according the principles allowed by Rabbinic law). Likewise Jesus allowed the disciples to break the command against harvesting because a weightier principle negated the lesser and who would know better than He what the law allowed?

    3) Perhaps the reason goes beyond the letter of the law and what the letter of the law both demanded and allowed. Perhaps the time had come for mankind to focus and the Spirit of the law. Christians for the most part do not observe prohibitions against making a fire, picking up sticks or carrying anything on the Sabbath etc. Could it be because we have come to or are in the process of coming to focus on the Spirit the rather than the letter of the law?

    • Robert, I am wondering about your question, which implies that the disciples broke the law and "harvested grain." That was the accusation of the Pharisees.

      Do you believe the Pharisees were correct? (The lesson author implies that Jesus broke neither the Ten Commandments, nor the laws of Moses, and not even the rabbinical laws.)

      Upon what basis do you conclude that the disciples broke the law and harvested grain?

      • Inge

        I am sorry perhaps I worded my question poorly. That question was not a statement of fact or a statement of my belief, it was a question. As I stated in #2 "who would know better that He (Jesus) what the law allowed and to make it clear I see no evidence that Jesus broke either the Law of Moses or the Rabbinic law.

        Perhaps I should of worded the question asking why they were allowed to harvest when the law forbade it. (see Exod. 34:21) I brought of three possible reasons. '#1) The was canceled, I dismissed it because Jesus did not use it. #2) They were allowed due to a weightier principle which seems to be the reason he used or #3) They did not violate the spirit of the law perhaps implied.

        • Hi Robert,

          Thank you for your explanation. 🙂 The law forbade harvesting on the Sabbath, which makes perfect sense, because harvesting a crop on Sabbath is certainly work.

          It seems that the Pharisees mis-applied a perfectly good law. The disciples did what was perfectly legal: As they walked past a field of grain, they plucked some ears, rolled them in their hands to take off the husks and ate the probably not-quite-ripe grain. (Wheat is actually milky and sweet before it is ripe.) I do the same sort of thing when I go hiking on Sabbath and pass a berry bush. I pick and eat some berries. It's part of the fun of hiking. Now would you consider that I am breaking the Sabbath - by eating some berries off a bush?

          The Pharisees would say I was "harvesting berries" and thus breaking the law.

          It seems to me that the disciples were not breaking the clear intent of the law. Picking a few ears of grain for immediate consumption is not "harvesting" in the usual sense!

    • I think Jesus allow them because something lead them to do that which is Hungry. as we all understand the important of the sabbath is for us to be free and happy, above it all is for redemption and salvation. therefore because they were hungry and wanted to satisfy their hunger Jesus allow them save life by plugging the grain and eat not to take it home.He also encourage them to save and do good on sabbath and not evil.please note that one of the things that we should do on sabbath is doing good making people around you fill happy,love,freedom. God will help us Amen.

      Thank you.

  3. My understanding harvesting is gathering the grains to the barn, but plucking and eating was for the purpose of being hungry. We enjoy the Sabbath when we fully commit ourselves to him in worshipping and fellowship, but when we enter the holy hours with the burdens of the week then we will never enjoy the time of enjoyment he has ordained for us.

  4. The most important thing that I can do on the sabbath is to study more of God's words and can have more time to meditate on God's greatness and all that he has done for you me

  5. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    Am from a different back ground pertaining to the sabbath we grow up to do no pleasure/ fun like hiking playing games etc but most worship centered like going to church, witnessing helping sick
    i Want to know is it ok to hike play games with fellow members or worship center And helping others only?

    • When deciding on any Sabbath activity, it is helpful to ask these questions:
      1) Will this activity allow me to communicate with God?
      2) Does this activity honor God in the eyes of others?
      3) Does this activity promote fellowship with others who honor God?

      Some activities may be neutral, others make us forget God, still others actively help our relationship with God.

      I see God revealed in nature. Thus Sabbath hiking is a way of drawing closer to God as I admire the beauty of His creation. But it is possible to make hiking such a competitive activity that God is forgotten.

      Much depends on our state of mind, and no one can decide that for another.

      • I agree generally that the more we understand about the Sabbath, the more we will understand how to "keep" it in a variety of ever-interesting ways.
        If the Sabbath is an arbitrary command from God, we'll come up with arbitrary lists of dos and don'ts to follow.

    • Robert, how certain is your argument? In my opinion, Christ wanted the Pharisees to understand the essence of the Sabbath on the essentials of life by watering down their perfect act of legalism. Robert, how could Christ break the moral law by amending the lesser Mosaic laws?

  6. As much as I desire to observe the sabbath, the fact is that I'm working as an engineer in a electrical power plant which involves shift working on Saturdays.

    On all SDA websites I usually read that we should abstain from any work on the sabbath, with only exception jobs such as nurse in a hospital. Meanwhile most of my SDA brothers and sisters are using electricity on the sabbath.

    Please give me your opinion on this...

    • John, I don't think anyone else can decide for you whether what you are doing is in harmony with God's design or not.

      Some things to consider: Is it possible for you to trade shifts with someone else? For instance, perhaps there are engineers who would like to have their Sundays off and you could trade your Saturday shift with them?

      I think we suffer loss when we do not meet with fellow believers on Sabbath. On the other hand, I believe we can still keep Sabbath in our hearts when we engage in genuinely necessary work on the Sabbath.

      I suggest you take this to the Lord in prayer. He knows your heart.

    • John, a lot of people are in the same position that you are in. If I was in your position and if there are other engineers that work there too then I would seek to make a deal with one or more of them. Of course I am assuming that you have a day off sometime during the week.

      Most likely one of the other engineers is religious and would prefer to go to his/her place of worship on another day than Sabbath. To me that would afford an opportunity not only to have your Sabbaths off but to be a good friend and a witness to the people you work around. Try to have them work during your Sabbath and you work on their worship day. Such an arrangement can be of benefit to both you and them and God will be glorified in the meantime.

      • Dear Tyler and Inge,

        Thanks for your response. The problem, however, I have with exchanging my shift with someone who doesn't observe the sabbath is that it feels wrong, not to say hypocritical.

        Main question is whether it is a necessity to have electricity production during the sabbath. Personally I indeed consider my work on the sabbath as necessary. By exchanging my shift with someone else feels as if that person is working for me on the sabbath, which could be considered as a wrong example and testimony to others.

        Furthermore the bible is clear about having other people working for you on the sabbath...

        • Hi John. I work as dairy farmer. I milk cows on Sabbath. I view this also as being necessary for the health and comfort of the cow. They also need to be fed, and medicated. My boss is a Sunday keeper. So for whatever needs to be done for the welfare of the stock during the remainder of the day, we each can cope with on our own; he on Sabbath, me on Sunday. Maintenance work of any sort I draw the line at. Such can be done the day before, or the day after. I also prepare as much as possible on Friday by setting up all fences, loading trailers etc. Weather however has a role to play in all this...plans change.
          Funny thing though. Milking on Sabbath is always MORE enjoyable than at any other time. I find myself constantly meditating on scripture while I'm milking, or singing a hymn, or thinking on some doctrinal subject. Such things seem to elude me during the week.

        • Does the company belongs to you?

          If not, anyone with whom you would exchange a shift would not be working for you because it is not work for you, i.e. for your benefit. That is the spirit of the instruction that no one should work for the Sabbath keeper on the Sabbath.

          I would like to encourage you to let go of preconceived ideas and take it to the Lord with the request to impress you with how best to honor Him on His day.

          Something you don't need to share, but something for you to think about: Do you focus on Him when you work in the power plant on the Sabbath? Does your conversation reflect your focus on Him? Do your co-workers know that you are a Sabbath keeper? Does it show in the difference in your conduct? Do you engage in spiritual conversations on that day more than on others?

          It may be that some can keep Sabbath while working in an electrical power plant and others cannot. That is why it should be taken to the Lord. We cannot make rules for each other. (That's what the Pharisees did.) The Lord is more willing to show us our duty than to show someone else our duty.

        • A nurse was sharing her experience about working on the Sabbath. Though it is generally accepted among Adventists that nursing on that day is totally kosher, she said that she found when she made the decision to donate all the proceeds from her Sabbath work, she found she was working fewer Sabbaths.

          Someone else may have a different result. Donating the proceeds may clear the ambiguity of motives and allow them to weigh/ sense more freely how they can best honor God...

        • Hi John,
          When I became a Christian, I determined to put God first, and since the Sabbath is His special day, I wanted to be with Him on His day. At that time, I did full time (6 days a week) elderly care for over five years. I always found someone to take my place all day Sabbath. It was important to me to go to church and to take time in nature to rest and think about God. The person(s) who took my place were happy to work.

      • Tyler: How would the arrangement be possible if all the engineers were Seventh Day Adventists? or if the firm had only one engineer?

        • Gerald, like all the rest of the commandments we are dealing with principles not minute details. God expects us to use the brains He gave us. In ancient times during the year when it got cold God didn’t expect people to go without warmth during the Sabbath. Even though God told them that they shouldn’t kindle a fire on the Sabbath (Ex 35:3) which required considerable work that didn’t mean that they had to let a fire go out. They were expected to have fuel readily available that was gathered on the preparation day and to use it to keep the fire going (that also was a necessity for the altar of burnt offering in the sanctuary). The same goes for eating and all the other biological necessities and having enough water for the day.

          The one thing that I did once I became a Seventh-day Adventist was to make it very clear when in a job interview that I would not work from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday because of my religious beliefs. If the employer accepted that constraint then it became part of the employment agreement and I gained a friend – if not then I would move on. I had to pass up some very nice jobs because of that but I found that God blessed in some way that tended to compensate for the loss.

          The one thing that I find very un-Christ-like is to accept a job then to attempt to force an employer to accommodate my scruples. Another thing that I find rather faith lacking is to justify working on the Sabbath because it might end up being a little uncomfortable otherwise. Those who wish to go with the crowd without attempting to work out an acceptable work schedule, in my opinion, is not following in the footsteps of Christ. As Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat 16:24-26 NKJV)

  7. Owen, I was not allowed to play on the Sabbath as a child either and I was perfectly fine with that because I knew they were breaking the commandments and we were not. Sabbath, with all it's restrictions was a wonderful day.

  8. The Pharisee's accusing the Disciples of breaking the law of Moses in regard to their picking and eating wheat grains on the Sabbath, which the Pharisees termed as harvesting. This reminds me of what my mother told me many years ago. Potluck dinners were often held at members homes following church services. My mother always said in regard to food being prepared on the Sabbath, "if it can't or shouldn't be eaten as it is, then we are cooking on the Sabbath." I have felt comfortable in following this statement, however many members do not agree with it. How do some of you scholars view this statement? Was my Mother's statement correct, or was she being a LADY PHARISEE?

    • Joann, we all have to decide what Sabbath is going to be for us. To me that means switching gears by being more God oriented and doing something different. It is a time to remember God and His relationship to His creation.

      For the Sabbath meal I always have spaghetti, it is something I always enjoy so I have made it the Sabbath meal and will have it only on that day - that is my treat. Now, the spaghetti sauce is something that I prepare before the Sabbath but I don't know how to do the same for the actual spaghetti so I cook in on the Sabbath. I feel justified in doing that because it is not a long drawn out labor like it is in cooking other things. We need to be practical.

      To me what we are dealing with here are principles and the main thing that I remember about the Sabbath is that it is to be a delight and that I am not to be doing things strictly for personal gain - I need to be focused on other things. I suppose that we could all fast for 24 hours but I think that is impractical. People need to eat and breathe and we need to move and get dressed, in these things there is nothing different than what we do during the week and yet we are expected to do those things on the Sabbath. We should also go to church which for a lot of people means driving in busy traffic or perhaps taking public transportation which one has to pay for and believe me it is much easier to do those things than it was for Ellen White to feed and harness a horse and hook it up to a buggy on the Sabbath but she did that anyway because she saw that as a necessary allowable activity.

      I think the lesson author explains things like this quite well and basically says that we shouldn't be turning the Sabbath into a grudging day where everything is doing what we hate by keeping close track of the does and don'ts. There is a balance to be had and each culture will consider it differently. So, let's enjoy the Sabbath as the Jews do. For them it is a celebration about God, what He is and what He has done and is doing for us.

    • Ellen White writes in Testimonies to the Church Volume 6, pg 357, "While cooking on the Sabbath should be avoided, it is not necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather let the food prepared the day before be heated. And let the meals, though simple, be palatable and attractive. Provide something that will be regarded as a treat, something the family do not have every day."

  9. Inge
    You bring up a fourth possibility worth considering to answer the question why Jesus allowed them to harvest grain, and that is because they were just picking some grain not harvesting it. I understand the distinction you are making and it makes sense at least in the English text, the Hebrew text I am not sure.

    However Jesus did not use that distinction and He did not justify the actions of the disciples with it. Rather He pointed to the actions of King David and his men eating the showbread which the law forbade. Secondly He said: “have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent.” (Mat. 12:5) Thus I understand it that under certain conditions it was allowed to (and even commanded to in the case of the priests in the temple Numbers 28:9) to break the Sabbath and this is why he allowed the disciples to harvest a little grain for their needs.

    This is only my understanding and I may be wrong I am far from perfect and you may have it right I grant you that. Lastly I certainly do not think that you picking a few berries on a Sabbath hike is breaking the spirit of the Sabbath.

    • Hi Robert,

      I think Jesus just met the Pharisees on their own ground, even though the disciples were not breaking God's law. They were just not interpreting the law the same way.

      He pointed them to the example of David to indicate that God gave His laws to man for their benefit. He did not create man to benefit the Law, including the Sabbath law.

      For instance, normally moving possessions and furniture out of a house would be work inconsistent with the Sabbath. But if your neighbor's house were burning down, would you stand by and say, "Sorry, I would help, but it's Sabbath"? I would hope not, because if you did, you would be viewing the Sabbath as the Pharisees did. Helping the neighbor save some of his most important possessions from the house would be serving your neighbor, and it would be in harmony with the spirit of the Sabbath -- at least as I see it.

      I'm still wondering, though, whether you think that if I were picking and eating berries on a hike (which makes any hike special to me), you would consider me breaking the Sabbath?

      • Inge

        Please wonder no more, from the last line of my previous post:
        “I certainly do not think that you picking a few berries on a Sabbath hike is breaking the spirit of the Sabbath.”

        I also agree with you the reason Jesus pointed to the example of David illustrated that the law was made for man’s benefit therefore the law bends to the needs of man. Thus they could eat the showbread normally forbidden to them.

        Certainly I would help my neighbor and carry on the Sabbath we are to walk according to the Spirit. I would not forbid you to hike on the Sabbath and I certainly would not forbid children to play on the Sabbath (even the Pharisees in all their strictness did not go that far).

        Again I say “Christians for the most part do not observe prohibitions against making a fire, picking up sticks or carrying anything on the Sabbath etc. Could it be because we have come to or are in the process of coming to focus on the Spirit the rather than the letter of the law?”

        • OOPS! I think I was a little hasty in my last comment. 😉 So sorry!

          So may I now conclude that you agree with me that the disciples did not break the Sabbath when they picked a few ears of grain (barley or wheat, maybe)? 😉 The rest of your comment makes me think so 🙂

          I hope we are in the process of focusing more on the Lord of the Sabbath than on the letter of the law. But that may mean that we do much more conscious focusing. In some ways it is actually easier to keep the letter than the spirit, because the spirit of the law goes much deeper.

  10. The lesson reminds me of sometimes back where Sabbath was understood very different. I remember in school where we were not allowed to do any activity nor move around school, rather we would just keep indoors, waiting for the day to end. It was no fun at all. Thank you for the lesson.

      • That a clear response you gave, but where to put the line? I would think that travelling on the sabbat which requires bying supplies should be avoided.

        Question is, does my activity/action requires somebody else to work for me on the sabbatha and how necessary is this this activity that it should be done on the sabbath.

        Let's not forget that visiting a museum on the sabbath also requires the museum staff to work.

        Using electricity, water and internet doesn't come automatically and requires people working for it.

        With last weeks lessons in mind we must be very carefull not to become modern pharisees, pinpointing others "mistakes" sitting on our high horse.

        As I mentioned in my previous comment, I'm working as an engineer on an electrical power plant, which involves shift work on the sabbath.

        It would be hypocritical to tell me to quit my job, and meanwhile continue to use electricity on the sabbath.

    • As Chako suggested, Isaiah 58:13,14 explains clearly how God thinks His Holy day should be observed.

      The importance of Saturday, the seventh day, as the Sabbath is often emphasized with little mention of the Preparation day, Friday. As a matter of fact, we have six days in which to prepare for the Sabbath. And so, any and all plans for the Sabbath day must be taken into account.

      You know that if you are not planning to fast on the Sabbath then you will have to eat. Therefore, food must be prepared in advance. Cooking on Friday, some people start as early as Thursday night, or nonperishable food items that are ready to eat can be taken with you on your travel. If the nature of your travel is an emergency and you did not have sufficient time to go home and pack a meal to take along with you, then buying something to eat is equivalent to the disciples plucking the grain and therefore will be acceptable. Unfortunately, many are guilty of deliberately planning their travel on Sabbath for their personal convenience and are thereby trampling on God's Holy day.

      These provisions, or restrictions as some may see them, actually come with a promise by God...."I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HAS SPOKEN IT."
      If we focus on the blessings that come with obedience instead of the "imagined discomfort" that may come with our "sacrifices", then we WILL find JOY AND DELIGHT in the Sabbath.

      May God bless you richly.

      • I do remember one of our elders saying that the preparation for the Sabbath starts on the first day of the week. We should all look forward for the Sabbath hours and prepare in advance to make the Sabbath a time of delight and not a burden thinking what to cook or being to busy cooking. I'm reminded of the example of Mary and Martha. Mary I believe exemplifies the state of mind that we need to have on the Sabbath day, sitting at the feet of Jesus and communing with Him rather then as I mentioned being busy with other things that could have been done before the Sabbath.

  11. 'the Sabbath is not meant to oppress but to provide release and liberation." An interesting statement....Liberation? I have also wondered why some Adventist think it is ok to go out to eat after church. I have known an elder praying the intercessory prayer, walking out and going out to eat with other friends.....I am not a believer of this practice. I also believe that if you travel on the sabbath day, you should prepare yourself something to eat for the trip. I am also against buying gas on the Sabbath. Would love to hear what others feel about this....Thanks for your comments.

  12. I do not know what is anyone relationship with Jesus and how they relate to him on the Sabbath but what I know I am told in the bible, as Christians we will overcome by the word of our testimony. (Revelation ).
    Sometimes I work five days of the week and cannot wait for the Sabbath. I literally crawl to the Sabbath. I look forward for the Sabbath by getting all my things prepared for the Sabbath as well as my mind. Also I remind my family to get their things prepared for the Sabbath. I am daily reminded about the consequences of sin and what sin had brought about as I do my daily work away from home. The place where I worked during the week is no different from the Sabbath because some people do not know God, or do not have a fear of God. Anything goes on. The TV plays, or the radio sings, people talk, move around and swears, the jostling and bustling like the common market place are some of the activities that go on. Having this 5-6 day a week is sufficient to make me loose it, much less on the Sabbath.
    Most times the phone rings on the Sabbath and I answer it. I remind the caller that today is the Sabbath and we do not do any business on the Sabbath. But what surprises me; those people will say ok and then hang up. Who told them about the Sabbath and the way it should be observed? Even the disobedient know about the sacredness of the Sabbath. Family members who are not SDA seldom calls because they knew we will not be having those conversations. Six days Jesus gave me to get it right, the seventh belongs to him. Isaiah 58:13-14.

  13. Bro. Chako Thank you for the scripture Isaiah 58:13.14,.Thats the way a lot of members in my church feel. I like to put things in context and I believe the 58 Chapter start out cry aloud show my people their transgressions. The Sabbath should be a delight and a happy day it should free you up from what ever binds you, a day to honor and spend time with and remembering how good God is. Its good to do good any time. I truly believe that.

  14. Often Isaiah 58:14-14 is taken out of context to prove a point. It becomes the cliché that is pulled out every time we disapprove of some activity. We forget about verses 6 and 7 in the same chapter.

    6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

    7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
    When you see the naked, that you cover him,
    And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

    So clearly what God is calling a delight is a day of compassion.

    How much compassion do we show on Sabbath?
    Do we go out of our way to have Sabbath compassion?

    Clearly, we can be breaking the Sabbath by selfishly being hypocritical even though we do it in the name of God.

    • Owen, playing soccer on Sabbath I don't believe that is a work out of compassion for others. God gave us six days for ourselves to do our work and satisfy our pleasures. The delight of the Sabbath comes from having a date with our God and from helping others to experience the love of God through acts of compassion. Of course we can help an elderly person with cleaning out the yard in any of the six days but everyone will need to eat on Sabbath or if an emergency arises we will help out. Once I heard of a plumber going out on Sabbath and helping others with plumbing staff around their house for free. I don't know if I would go that far to walk around with my tools to do some work for others but I don't judge him because maybe in this process he shared God's love with others. I take all the comments here not as a criticism but to help each others on our conquest to better please God in everything we do.

      • Emil, I personally would draw the line on any competitive sport being played on Sabbath. But just kicking a ball around a field after Sabbath lunch and being all inclusive is a good thing. It doesn't matter if a person is very young or very old. It doesn't matter if you can run a mile or only walk a few steps. You can join in and be accepted by the group. It is not about kicking a goal or anything of the like. It is about being all inclusive and accepting of all. There is a lot of compassion in that.

    • Isaiah 58 The Sabbath / Fast / day to afflict your souls in context

      Isaiah 58:3-5
      New King James Version (NKJV)

      3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness.You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. 5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?

      Leviticus 23:26-32

      New King James Version (NKJV)
      The Day of Atonement / Fast Day / Day to afflict your souls / sabbath

      26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

      I have understood Isaiah 58 to be about the Day of Atonement not so much about the 7th day Sabbath.

  15. The Sabbath gives us opportunity to visit inmates and deliver food parcels to needy,which we are not able in other days due to hectic work of the week.Sabbath is the day of spiritual renewal.

  16. a few years later a papal nuncio warned the king:sire,be not deceived.the protestants will upset all civil as well as religious order....the throne is in as much danger as the altar...."the introduction of a new religion must necessarily introduce a new government."-D'Aubigne,history of the reformation in europe in the time of Calvin,b.2ch.36/john ch.6 Jesus feeds the 5,000.

  17. Tyler & Shelia

    Thanks for your comments to my questions. I'll have to think of special things to eat as Sabbath Treats. However, my mother did not feel we shouldn't eat on the Sabbath or warm food. But we should use the preparation day as much as possible to prepare things that probably shouldn't be cooked on the Sabbath.

  18. I have read all of these comments on the Sabbath. This reminds me first of all of the Pharisees and teachers of the law who picked apart what is keeping the Sabbath and not keeping the Sabbath. What does the bible say about keeping the Sabbath? Hardly anything.

    I was raised where we could not go outside and play in the front yard, only in the backyard because we might come in contact with people who were unholy on the Sabbath. 50 years later was a funeral for the man across the street and some of my family went. The man next door spoke at the funeral and was praising God that the man who was dead had introduced him to Jesus. So much for our Sabbath behavior.

    Let me introduce this idea to the ones who think we should be spiritual and not carnal. What do you think Adam and Eve did that first Sabbath? Not work? Not pick fruit? Not walk? Not go for a swim? Not cooking? Not associating with anyone else? Help the poor? Pass out pamphlets? Pray? I have a feeling that they were "knowing" each other most of the day. Who created those feelings in us? Why didn't He create them on a different day so they wouldn't be doing that on Sabbath?

  19. In the eyes of the Pharisees the plucking of grain on the sabbath was an act of desecration. "Not only was the gathering of the grain a kind of reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was a kind of threshing. Thus, in the opinion of the rabbis, there was a double offense."......
    "Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all." (Desire of Ages pg 284/285

  20. It would seem that most respondents overlooked the Memory Verse, which states that the Sabbath was made for man; not, man for the Sabbath. It sounds, rather, like we are Pharisee-ing each other into the ground. Sabbath was made for us, to be a delight; a day for rest from the labors of the other six days, and for rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit.

    How one hallows the Sabbath is between oneself and God. It is not okay to point fingers at others and accuse them of breaking the Sabbath, as it merely serves to point out that one is simply minding another's business and not engaged in keeping one's mind focused on the Lord.

    We need ask ourselves just one simple question: Does this activity take my mind off the daily grind, and draw me closer to God? If Yes, then it's good Sabbath activity.
    Example of good activity: If riding a bike is your idea of recreation, go out and enjoy nature while riding your bike. Just don't do the Tour de France…that is work.

    See? Easy! Enjoy Sabbath. It is a gift from God.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *