Girl Jumping on the Bridge Wearing Black Jacket

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another Friday message! Before I was reminded that this was my week, I found myself noticing some Scriptures related to the Sabbath, a frequent and well-considered subject for these Friday missives.

What caught my attention was the huge importance that God puts on the Sabbath:

It took up one 7th of creation week.

It was one of the very first commandments from God to humanity, and He obviously considered it immensely important that this new race of creatures should have a Sabbath every week.

It was one of the Ten Commandments. He reminded us again of what He had said at creation and included it with the other basic laws that He spoke out loud and wrote on the stone with His finger.  But notice: it was not a “Thou shalt not,” but a positive, “Thou shalt”—which for those of us driven by “work guilt,” it is the way it needs to be put so we can rest free of blame!

Those laboring this way might think “That’s nice, we should take a break and rest with God and our families once in a while.”

No—“Thou shalt.

“Oh you really mean it!”

“Yes, my child, I love you enough to command a rest every week with me and your fellow family members.”

I think we should take it as, “Whoopee! We get to have a day of rest! We don’t have to do any work!”  I really believe this is the way He wants it, because of what I know of His heart, and also because of what it says in Isaiah 58:13. There He tells us that if we “call the Sabbath a delight” then we will “ride on the high places” with Him.

But there’s more: In Isaiah 56 God is talking to foreigners and eunuchs, those that would not normally be part of the nation of Israel with its blessing and covenant. He says in verses 4-5, “For thus saith Jehovah of the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and hold fast my covenant: Unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than of sons and of daughters.”

The first thing He says to the eunuchs who loved Him is about the Sabbath! Keeping it was a sign that they loved Him, and I believe that He’s affirming to them that they, like Israel, would come under His covenant. “You want to be one of My children? Love me and enter into my rest”!

And then in Jeremiah 17, God is talking to His people about their problems and He makes this astounding statement: “And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith Jehovah, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever.”

With all the sins that the book of Jeremiah delineates so profusely, He picks out the Sabbath to talk about. He says that if they will just keep the Sabbath he will spare the city. Wow! The Sabbath must be important! And it is such a positive commandment! He is asking them to do something really easy and desirable—why wouldn’t they do it? But alas they didn’t, and the city was destroyed.

But today is a new day, and we are Sabbath keepers. Let’s rejoice in the solemn privilege of keeping this precious day with the Lord. And by God’s grace let’s make it one of the central habits of life. Attach the importance to it that Scripture clearly teaches us, thereby declaring that you also are included in His covenant of blessing to the people of faith.

Whoopee, It’s almost here