The Meaning of the Sabbath

In Genesis 2:2-3 it says, “By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.”

Have you ever thought about what this truly means? Rest. God rested from the work He had done. There are many examples of how people have interpreted this. The Old Testament has lists of what could and could not be done on the Sabbath by the Jewish people. In the nineteenth century, there were people who didn’t do any physical work on Sundays and who didn’t go anywhere either. They rested. And then we come to today. We consider going to church our Sabbath duty and after we come home, we do all the “work” we weren’t able to do during the week or we run around and do whatever activity comes to mind and call it rest.

There are some who would say these are all cultural changes, and, of course, we are still honoring the Sabbath Day by what we do on Sundays. I’m not so sure. What about the waitress who works in the restaurant where we have lunch? What about the grocery story clerk?  What about the nurse in the hospital? And here’s the big one, what about our church staffs? Is Sunday a day of rest for them? These are challenging questions. Sometimes I get to the end of the day on Sunday and wonder why I am so tired if this day is supposed to be a day of rest.

A little while ago, I read something that has the potential to answer this question. God doesn’t want us to have a list of dos and don’ts about the Sabbath. And I think it doesn’t really matter to Him what we do or don’t do on Sunday although a break from responsibilities is nice. No, he wants us to abide in Him always.

The term that was used in my devotional resonated with me, and it helped me come to a deeper understanding. This term is “soul Sabbath – a settled, deep stillness, a quiet relaxation in body and soul.” I had never heard it before, but it makes sense to me.  Experiencing a “soul Sabbath”  is the same as abiding in God which is what all of us who profess faith are supposed to do. It is also the hardest place to get to in having faith. God wants this for us though as demonstrated by Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-29.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Lord, this my prayer for all of us.

God’s blessings on you all today!

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