The Lord God gave Moses ten commandments that those who follow God are meant to keep. We know this, but do we treat them all equally? Do we believe that keeping the sabbath, or shabbat, is as important as not committing murder?
Join us as we discover why the fourth commandment regarding the sabbath matters!
God’s Son, Yeshua, came to earth and fulfilled the Law. Yet, while He took away the curse of the Law, we are still meant to follow God and His ways—which includes behavioral choices like those laid out in the Ten Commandments.
Love is the key to following God’s Law. It is the answer to why God forgives us when we stumble along the way. Love is one of the beautiful reasons why God gave us behavioral boundaries, because He, like any good parent, wants the best for us… and does not desire to see us fall into harm. This is why a parent tells a child that they should not put their hand in a fire; it is out of love, not bondage or restriction. The same is true when God gives us boundaries—like the Ten Commandments—He does it not from a desire to put us in bondage or restriction… but out of love.
“Jesus said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”—Matthew 22:37-40
Yet, while most would agree with God’s Word that we should not allow actions like murder—not committing murder being the sixth commandment—boundaries like keeping shabbat holy seem to fall through the cracks…
God put the Ten Commandments in place intentionally. Each provides and protects us and God’s Kingdom. And each honors God through our obedience…
- no other gods
- no idols
- no taking God’s name in vain
- remember and keep shabbat holy
- honor your father and mother
- no murder
- no adultery
- no stealing
- no giving false witness
- no coveting
It is interesting that eight of the Ten Commandments tell us what not to do, while two tell us what to do. And it is interesting that one of those two Commandments, keeping shabbat holy, is typically one of the first that we ‘allow ourselves’ leniency on observing… and that when that one is forgotten, others always follow.
Keeping Shabbat Holy
Hebrews 10:24-25 says that we should not forsake assembling together, and all the more as we see the Day of our Messiah’s return approaching…
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10:24-25
The importance of assembling together cannot be unduly stressed, because we are honed when we hear the Word of God taught to us. When we hear the testimony of fellow Believers. When we speak of God and His ways. When we are reminded that others follow God. When we invite God’s Presence in. When we provide kindness, love, and support…
Each of these work together to hone us—and one another—into God’s image. Each provides a strengthening of faith that is necessary for the days ahead… because every moment we draw closer to the return of our Messiah. Every moment we see the Day approaching.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”—Matthew 24:42
Yet, while assembling together is a key part of keeping shabbat holy, it is not the only aspect.
We are meant to—by remembering and keeping shabbat holy—understand the pattern of our God. To echo that pattern that He put in place…
The pattern of working for six days and resting on the seventh. The very pattern that God used to create the world, universe, and everything within.
When we observe shabbat, we are choosing to be like our Father. We are honoring God through our obedience to His will and ways. And we are accepting and believing that He knows best; that we trust Him and know that He will not let us down.
Still, God also uses shabbat to guide us and teach us. To provide lessons that are only available when we are still enough to listen. Waiting upon the Lord.
Further, God uses shabbat to protect us. To restore our health—mentally, physically, and spiritually. To align us with His will and ways so that we can be in tune with His life. With eternal life.
And He uses shabbat to improve relationships. Our relationship with Him being crucial, yet, He uses shabbat to improve our relationship with family and friends as well. To build love and drive out bitterness, anger, resentment, estrangement… Building character and hope. Bringing laughter and joy.
When we shabbat, we walk in obedience. We answer the fourth of the Ten Commandments. We find ourselves refreshed and renewed in all areas. And we are able—far better able—to enter into the week ahead with joy, determination, and love. We are able to accomplish more than we ever could without having taken shabbat. And we are rewarded through the edification and deepening of our relationship with God.
Is This Legalistic?
Nearly anything can become legalistic if we allow it. Because legalism is a form of entrapment in our thoughts… where something that is good is misrepresented to such a point that it becomes a heavy weight. Something that we feel is a burden…
Shabbat was never put in place by God to be a burden. It was never to be a heavy load…
Instead God created shabbat for our good. For our benefit.
When God is at the heart of shabbat, it becomes a thing that brings new life to us. It becomes a catalyst for everything we are called to do!
Certainly we can allow shabbat to become legalistic, but why would we want to? Why would we not see it as it is… freedom!
Yeshua and His disciples did not cease from doing God’s will on shabbat. Yeshua healed people on shabbat! He ‘worked.’ But the key was that He did what His Father wanted Him to do.
There are shabbats where God has us stay home and rest.
There are shabbats where God has us visit with friends.
There are shabbats where God has us volunteer…
The key is listening to God and following HIS direction. Not going off in our own way or will, but instead accepting God’s.
And no matter what the Lord would have us do on shabbat—no matter if we ‘agree’ or not—it is always the best choice. Keeping shabbat holy in God’s way is always a catalyst for His perfect will being manifested in our lives.
Why do we not rest on shabbat in whatever way God leads?
Why do we not rejoice in the beautiful commandment that brings restoration and draws us nearer to God?
Why do we not remember and keep shabbat holy?