Friday, September 9, 2016

Sabbath for a believer in The Messiah

When a father teaches his child how to do something, whether it be a household chore, homework, or a lesson in social behavior, he delights when the child goes from doing so begrudgingly to doing so out of joy and a desire to please the father.

It saddens me when believers talk about the Sabbath in the context of it being a burden which we are 'now free of', or some other such discourse. How much more saddened must the Father Almighty be when He hears us complain and grumble about enjoying the rest which He has provided for us?

Certainly, much of the discourse on the topic has to do with people trying to keep numerous outdated 'rules' imposed by mankind on the Sabbath, which don't recognize the place of the Messiah or the desire that the LORD has for us to love one another and Him on His day.

One need not observe the Sabbath in the old way, with the old leaven. Rather, observe it with love for Him that has created us, saved us, and sustains us. Observe it with love for our families. Spend time together enjoying the world which He created, and all it has to offer. Spend time reading His word and praying to Him, and in being thankful to Him.

He cares less about rules on His day than He cares about us thanking Him and blessing our families with our love in His presence. He wants us to enjoy His rest as much as we can, as often as we can. But there can be no denying that He wants us to focus on Him on His day, in as many ways as we can.

Some common questions and concerns:

Should I be worried if I cook some food or 'start' Sabbath a little late (after sundown)? What if I don't say the 'correct' prayers or blessings, or miss a step, is that bad? No, not at all.

What if I spend time playing with my kids, taking them swimming or out on a nature hike? Is that bad? Nope, not in the slightest. Enjoy!

What if I don't read scripture or pray throughout the Sabbath? Does it 'count'? Obviously, the more time you can spend prayerfully reading scripture, or time in prayer to the LORD, the better. But doing such activities out of obligation to 'check the box' of Sabbath activities is meaningless. God would rather you spend time with your family, loving them, and spending quality time with them. And if you can read scripture and pray together, wonderful! He also will be pleased if you spend time helping others, so long as it is done out of love and genuine service to His glory and wishes, and not out of a dutiful sense of 'checking the box' of 'holy' activities.

Remember, the LORD wants our worship to be in spirit and truth. In our hearts and minds, not just on our lips or in outward actions which we know internally are empty and devoid of real meaning. Get real on the Sabbath. God knows what you're up to anyway, so why bother faking it?

Shabbat Shalom!