Remember the Sabbath

Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV)

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it [made it holy].

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Interesting. What does it mean to keep it holy? says:

Holy  [hoh-lee]    adjective, ho·li·er, ho·li·est.

  1. as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.
  2. or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
  3. In Hebrew, the word Kodesh  קָדוֹשׁ   also means set apart.

There are more meanings but I think you get the point. We left the Hotel Yehuda on Shabbat morning to visit Masada and the Dead Sea. The city and the roads were deserted with the exception of two other tour buses. It was like a scene from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” movie where all equipment ceased to work. Even the trams were all parked in the station. Not a creature was stirring; not even a mouse.

I have always wondered what it would be like to keep the Sabbath Day. At home, whether you choose Saturday or Sunday as your Sabbath, it is not really a day of rest. In Jerusalem, everything is closed, no one drives (except tour buses with us heathens) and it is a complete break from the rest of the week. What would that look like? It would look like Jerusalem on a Saturday morning.

We visited the Jacob Family for Shabbat Dinner on Friday night. This local family invited us pilgrims into their home to have a traditional Sabbath dinner with their family. In conversation, we discovered they were from West Orange NJ and had moved to Israel because they wanted the traditional Jewish life for their family. They wanted to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.

Are you overwhelmed with life and the craziness of our culture? I am. Sometimes, we are on a hamster wheel going nowhere but going none the less. Wouldn’t it be great to slow down? The Lord Thy God didn’t need to rest. Although He created the universe in six days, He rested on the seventh and set it apart for rest as an everlasting covenant. He did that for us. We are the ones who need rest.

Hebrews 4 says “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” God has invited us into His rest. What does that mean? Is it just keeping the Sabbath? No, it is much more. Keeping the Sabbath gives us Shalom peace. And I no no one who could not use more of God’s shalom peace.

Holy Father, remind us of why You rested. Life is about loving God and neighbors. Rest gives us the time to build those relationships. Go before us and clear the way for us to enter Your rest. In Jesus name we pray.

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