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What's your FOCUS on God’s sabbath?
As you may know, I have recorded two sermons recently (Aug 2022) about keeping God’s holy sabbath holy, set-apart, special, and different from all the other days of the week. I hope you’ll watch those 2 video sermons. I really felt the body of Christ could use this tune up and get back to making Sabbath a well thought out day and give God the worship and attention He desires – and to STOP and REST on this special day each week for our own good too.
The weekly sabbath is called a “shabbat sabbaton” in scripture, meaning “stop and rest” (Leviticus 23:3). We certainly should cut out any usual work! Even setting up for church services, if at all possible, should be done before sabbath starts – if possible.
I’ve even been urging pastors who do 2 services each sabbath and more -- to let the brethren REST and have personal time for God and their families. I urged them to just have one service late morning, then let people have the rest of the day off for God and family. Our children should grow up thinking sabbath is a delight, but if it’s spent all day in church, I doubt many will think that way when they’re old enough to decide whether to continue going to services or not. Have time to do extra personal Bible study, prayer, even a nap.
Anyway, I know you’ll find the sermons helpful and even thought provoking. Here’s more, this time from a member who just wrote me a note about sabbath and how she focuses her thoughts on sabbath. I felt it was worth sharing with you all so here it is, directly quoting:
“As I personally say about the Sabbath, it is my day each week to spend in eternity--to forget for a while this temporary physical life with all its problems, evils, difficulties, and work, and focus on the real life ahead--life eternal! It's a 'rest' from the daily struggle we all have, from the cares and wickedness of this world, from all that is physical--all that will one day be gone! What a beautiful thing to have a day to, as it were, 'wallow' in what is our future and the very reason God made us--to share eternity with Him! The Sabbath is a glimpse into eternity!”
I thought that was beautifully said. As we remember our Creator after He rested from his creation, we also remember he’s preparing the kingdom for His family. And we’ll get to witness and maybe even participate in the new creation of the new heavens and new earth. How exciting.
Remember to be ready for sabbath. If you have to work on Fridays, then spread out during the week the other things you need to get done before sabbath – like having your clean, modest, ironed clothes ready before sabbath. Remember before whom we’re presenting ourselves and be ready and dressed accordingly. I’m not insisting that you must have a coat and tie, men – but dress as you would if you would actually meet in person, visibly, God Most High and Jesus your king. Levi’s and a T-shirt? Not what I’d advise!
And please brethren – no more improper or immodest attire – well really anytime, but especially on sabbath. Ladies, please, no low-cut blouses or short shorts, hot pants, or super-tight pants or attire that could set up a stumbling block, or a temptation to sin in the minds of your brothers in Christ, our men. Please.
Now – what about tidiness and making the bed, rinsing off a few plates (or using paper plates)? When God says “no work” – when we look at Jesus’ example, he surely was referring mostly to our work of employment, doing business, lifting heavy burdens as Nehemiah 13 speaks of. I don’t see that the Lord of the sabbath would call making your bed “work”. In fact, he was condemned for telling a man to pick up his bed and walk. His “bed” was whatever he was lying on – a mat or outward clothing. So we do make our bed for example, on sabbath. It takes less than a minute. It’s part of presenting to God a home and a background of being neat and tidy. We might put dishes in the dishwasher, but we wait til after sabbath to run it. That’s just us, maybe.
Here’s more from the lady who wrote to me:
“The things I do on the Sabbath day are only what is necessary. Coming before God as we do in Church, we should be clean and our clothes clean and neat, our hair brushed and fixed, our bed made, room tidy, dishes done. When I had kids, I made sure their 'Sabbath' bags were ready, clothes picked out and their bathing done before the Sabbath. Then I just accomplished what needed to be done on that day and nothing extra. I personally think the house should be tidy on the Sabbath- -beds made, dishes done, things put away as much as possible. God wants things to be done decently and in order. We can only minimize what has to be done--we can't get rid of everything physical as long as we're human! But again, that means we have prepared for the Sabbath by starting it with a clean house before sundown and our weekly work done.
“The principle is simple--Clear the day of physical--and mental--work as much as possible so you have time and energy for what is truly important! The Sabbath is a time to absolutely focus on becoming part of the God family and our future in God's Kingdom. We should even try to clear our minds of what normally occupies our thoughts--worries about money, house repairs, family arguments, meeting some deadline--i.e. the cares of this world! Focusing on the Kingdom, God's ways, His people, His Word should also be a rest mentally from our daily struggles and difficulties. We need to remember that these things won't matter when we are Spirit beings!”
Amen. Thank you, sister in Christ. You may or may not agree with every word of that. I thought her email to me was wonderfully stated and just wish I had had it before my Part 2. But you’ve asked for help on understanding shabbat.
I know our webmaster Scott says that he and his wife Brandie – by sundown – have a home that is pristine. His word. Some of you, if you work Mon-Fri, may have to do some of that prep on Wednesday and Thursday if you’re arriving home late afternoon Friday.
The biggest thing about understanding sabbath is to SEE GOD’S BIG HEART for us. He wanted you, your spouse, your children, your animals, your guests – to all have a day off from work and just have a delightful day. Jesus showed us it’s right to untie animals and give them water, to do good on sabbath, and much more that I explain especially in part 2 of the Sabbath series. How about marital lovemaking on sabbath? You’ll have to watch the video.
We keep sabbath not just because we’re commanded to, or have to – but because it’s such a delightful day when done right. If it’s not a delightful day in your home, review this blog and the sermons again, as you’re probably missing something important.
Part of seeing God’s big heart is to grasp that he kept saying we need to see the big picture of being MERCIFUL and showing LOVE on his sabbath. When you grasp that, and focus on that, you won’t wonder about what to do and not do on sabbath – all while remembering we are to be prepared for sabbath, to keep it holy, to make it special for the kids and everyone, and make it a DELIGHT (Isaiah 58:13). We don’t want to be discussing business or letting our minds wander off as this lady said – but to focus on our wonderful kingdom of God we’re a part of.
Enjoy the sabbath, and enjoy the teaching. Contact me, as she did, if you have any questions or comments. Thank you, Jesus – our Lord of the sabbath.
I have been a Sabbath Keeper since 2003 and have interacted with many Sabbath keepers since then from different persuasions who put emphasis on various Points to consider to most effectively remember the Sabbath day to keep it Holy. Thank you Philip, for this blog, in it I have learned what OUR FOCUS should actually be on the Sabbath. Be blessed and to God be the Glory. George Otieno, Kenya Minister.
This is a thought provoking blog. It has challenged me because we usually have a tight program of two sermons and an afternoon Bible Study. This is a timely message for me because I have been wondering why most children from Sabbatarians do not enjoy keeping the Sabbath. Thanks for sharing this blog. It has greatly helped us and we shall make it more delightful and the days go by.
This reminds me that we are picturing the future Sabbath rest talked about in Hebrews. There is a time coming that will be a permanent rest from all we are picturing by the weekly Sabbath--a time of no more cares and woes, no more sorrows or pain, no more evil or wickedness--why would anyone not want to focus on such a time every single week? Sabbath a burden? Quite the opposite!
Thank you, Philip for putting into words and sermons God's purposes for our lives!