The Gift of the Sabbath
Memory Verse: Mark 2:27 “27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
Your memory verse says that the Sabbath was made for you and that you weren’t made for the Sabbath. What does that mean to you? Does it surprise you to discover that God made a day just for you? He made a day where you can rest from your regular work and spend time with Him. Why is that important? If God hadn’t made the Sabbath, would you set aside time during the week to work on your most important relationship – the one between you and God? Do you do it now, even having been given the Sabbath?
How do you view the Sabbath? Do you consider it a blessing or a burden? Why?
If the Sabbath is a burden to you, are you giving yourself a list of things you can’t do, rather than just enjoying the chance to get to know God and His Word better?
Honestly answer this question. If God had not given you the Sabbath as a day to delight in Him and deepen your relationship with Him, would you ever make time to do so? Do you now make extra time, outside of the Sabbath, to spend one-on-one with God? Be honest. Sadly, many Christians would not. The excuses could range from “I’m just too busy”, or “Where would I find the time?” or “I don’t even have the time to spend with my family, much less anyone else”. It all hinges on time and how you use it. What is most important to you?
You make time to do all the things you consider important. You make time for work, play, shopping, going to the movies, surfing the internet, watching TV etc. If you can make time for those things, why is it so hard to make time for God?
Everything you have and are comes from God. He created you and He sustains you. Without His active involvement in your life, you would cease to exist.
Adam and Eve were created by God, just as you were. Without His active involvement in their lives, they, along with everything else God created, would also cease to exist. God sets the pattern for how we are to live. After spending six days creating the universe, the earth, seas, land, plants, fish, birds, animals and man, God rested on the seventh day.
God rested on the seventh day, just as you should rest on the seventh day. Did God need this rest? No, He didn’t need it for Himself, but He knew we would need a day to rest from our daily work. If we didn’t have this gift of the Sabbath, we would work everyday and get so caught up in the material and physical things of life that we would forget all about God. Look at the world around you that has abandoned this day of rest. It is all caught up in acquiring more and more material things and thinks nothing of the spiritual aspect of life, much less developing a relationship with their Creator God. Even if they believe in Him, they have little, if any, relationship with Him. Many never even read their Bibles or take the time to pray.
You need this rest. We need this rest. The world needs this rest. You need this time of reflection on your lives and how you are living your daily lives in this world and how you are interacting with others around you. You need this time to see if there are things you are doing that need to be changed – a time to compare yourselves with the pattern God set down for you in the life of His Son Jesus. Are you close to that pattern? Are you far away from it? Are you living your life showing that you care about how God sees your life? Do you even know what the pattern is? This time allows you to find out about these things and to start doing something about the way you answered these questions.
If you are close to, or right with that pattern, is there something else you could add to it? Remember those around you, although they may say they don’t care anything about God or who He is, or what He’s done for them, will be watching you. If they see something in you that is missing in their life – peace, love, joy, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control – they may come to you for those things that are missing in their lives. Knowing you, they may want to know about what makes you so different and then you can tell them all about Him and His love for them. It is about relationship – your relationship to God and to others, and His relationship with you and with others.
God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy. The seventh day – the Sabbath – has been preserved by the Jewish people, so that we would know which day is the seventh day. God made this seventh day holy. Can you or any other person change something that God declares as holy to any other of the six days? Of course not! Man can only change what man has made – he cannot take anything that God has declared holy and make it no longer holy! If man wants to set aside another day as holy, he can do that, he can change it too, but he shouldn’t forget to honor the seventh day – the Sabbath – that God declared as holy either.
This is a special day to God and all who live on the earth. The Sabbath was established from the beginning. It points to God as our Creator God, and back to creation to show you how special you are! No other day can do that.
There are blessings promised to those who keep it. Not only do you learn to rely on God alone to make up what you may have lost by keeping the Sabbath, but God promises to bless those who keep it.
13“ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, 14 then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”(NKJV)
By relying on God, you make Him your Lord – the Master of your life. Just as a child relies on its parents to provide and take care of it, guiding it to adulthood safely and securely, relying on God, as His child, teaches you to respect and honor Him with your life. It also sets you apart from others in the world who rely on only themselves.
The Sabbath teaches us to rely on God and can also teach you, if you truly want to know, who God is. He gave you the Sabbath as a day set apart from the other six, to rest, to take the time to get to know Him, to read His Word, to talk to Him, to reconnect with your family after a hectic week, to reconnect with your Christian family in the church, to pray for each other and for others, to praise and worship God, to learn how to apply His way of life to yours. No other day will do that for you. No other day was set aside by God Himself, blessed and made holy. You honor God by keeping the Sabbath, just as you honor Him by keeping the rest of the ten commandments. By obeying His laws, including the one about the Sabbath, you show that you love Him, just as you show love, honor and respect to your parents when you obey their rules.
The Sabbath is truly a wonderful gift, given by God to you, and to all of mankind. It is the day the Lord made, set apart and declared holy. He made it for you so you would have the time to get to know Him – to develop a life-long close and loving relationship with Him.
God wants to have a relationship with you personally, and He wants you to have a relationship with Him and with other Christians. He made a special day just for that and He gave it to you!
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