Call the Sabbath a Delight

Dear Brethren,

The Sabbath Day is one of the greatest blessings that our loving Creator God could bestow upon us.

Besides picturing the soon coming Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth, the basic reason that we have received this gift of the Sabbath is so that we may draw near to God – worship Him, become like He is and even begin to think as He thinks.  Are we on the same page as He is with regard to the Sabbath Day?  What is our Sabbath mindset?

God fully intends for us that the Sabbath be a day of spiritual joy and happiness.  The Sabbath is meaningful to us when we experience the joy, delight and happiness that comes from serving another person in a way that is profitable – especially in a spiritually profitable way.

Too many brethren learned incorrectly that the Sabbath was a negative day of boredom, restrictions and abstinence.  The Sabbath was never meant to be an ascetic burden, or a day of self-denial or drudgery.  When Jesus Christ healed the woman with a spirit of infirmity, He was teaching that the Sabbath was a day of freedom and loosening for Christians – not a day of dreadful hampering restrictions – as the condemnatory Pharisaical ruler of the synagogue believed.  He accused Jesus of having a wrong attitude:

“The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his mule from the stall, and lead him away to watering?  And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

  (Luke 13:15-16)

Why were so many Pharisees offended over the manner in which Jesus Christ observed the Sabbath?  Over and over they took exception with what Jesus said and did on the Sabbath.  If we look closely, we are able to see a trend wherein Jesus was highly criticized for participating in legitimate Sabbath activities.  The Pharisees were angry, and accused Jesus of being a lawbreaker because they did not understand the spirit and purpose of the Sabbath Day.

What is the mood in your home as the Sabbath draws near?  Do the young folks cringe and murmur, “Oh no!” because everything goes on ‘lockdown’ as the Sabbath arrives.  Or is there a sense of joyful excitement at the expectation of a Sabbath filled with the wonders of God’s creation and blessings.  Is the Sabbath family time a time of spiritually connecting to all the holy things?  How did Jesus keep the Sabbath Day holy?

God is very serious about the Sabbath.  He is teaching us to be like He is, and more than anything, we want to be in His Kingdom.  How should the Sabbath be kept?  Jesus did not exactly answer that question to everyone's satisfaction - by giving us a Talmud of do’s and don’ts - because He wants us to grow in spiritual understanding.  He wants us to have the mind of Christ.  It is to be kept "Holy," and it comes with a great promise:

God proclaimed through the Prophet Isaiah, "If you watch your step on the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure for personal advantage on my Holy Day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, refusing ‘business as usual,’ and not finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."  (Isaiah 58:13-14)

Sermon:  "Call the Sabbath a Delight"