Today, keeping the Sabbath is radical and extremely difficult. The following comes from Peter Scazzero’s book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality:
Keeping the Sabbath is a command and an invitation from God. It is and Old Testament commandment right along with not lying, murdering, and committing adultery. The fourth commandment is longest and most specific.
“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.
Keeping the Sabbath was given after Israel was free from being slaves in Egypt. Slaves don’t get a day to rest. The Sabbath both whispers and screams at us, “You have sold out. Your priorities are not kingdom priorities. You are slaves to the grind.”
Some may argue that we live under the new covenant of the New Testament. Here is a New Testament passage about the Sabbath:
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Observing the command to take a rest is serious business to God.
Here are four principles of a biblical Sabbath from Scazzero’s book:
1. Stop – the world continues working fine when I stop.
2. Rest – from
b. Physical exhaustion
g. Decision making
h. Catching up
3. Delight – God delighted over creation, delight includes a sense of joy, completion, wonder and play.
4. Contemplate (reflect, think, ponder)– Sabbath is holy to God, contemplate God through worship, reading and study of scripture, and silence.
Think of the Sabbath like a “snow day” one day every week! It is a no day with no obligations.
Paul helps us avoid the danger of falling into legalism like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
Take a radical step in your life and observe the Sabbath every week by stopping, resting, delighting and contemplating.