When I taught at Kentucky’s Georgetown College, representatives of various religious groups shared their beliefs with my classes. One speaker was a Seventh-Day Adventist. Unlike most groups that profess belief in Jesus, the Adventists celebrate Sabbath on Saturday. After all, God tells the Israelites that on the seventh day, what we call Saturday, there should be no work.
Because the presenter appeared somber, I tried to add some levity. “Don’t the Adventists miss watching all the good college football games on Saturday?” It wasn’t my finest hour of teaching. As students giggled, our guest let me know that the Sabbath was Saturday, and nothing in the Bible explicitly changed that. I apologized.
No matter which day is Sabbath for us, these verses tell us to set aside a weekly day of rest. Our culture makes this challenging. Every day is someone’s workday. We’re constantly connected to our work through the devices we carry. Fully celebrating Sabbath starts feeling less important, or even impossible.
The Sabbath is more than a good idea to try to fit into our schedules. It’s essential for relating to God. The first four of the Ten Commandments strengthen that relationship. We’re to devote a day each week to offering a sabbath to the LORD your God (v. 14). God’s people are to recall what God has done for them. Deuteronomy commands the Israelites to remember the day God brought them out of slavery from Egypt. We are to reflect on how God frees us to worship, celebrate, and enjoy our relationships. We anticipate what God could do through us to bring liberation and the message of God’s love and saving grace to all of God’s children. The Sabbath is crucial to our spiritual growth.
Why is it important to remember God and God’s blessings on the Sabbath? How do you offer a full Sabbath to the Lord your God?
Gracious God, thank you for making the Sabbath essential to our well-being. In our resting, help us know our need to rest in you. Amen.