One of the things I love about our God is that He models for us how our lives should be lived. And He is a God of order and timing. Today I want to talk to you about the Sabbath day, why it is so important, and how it has personally enriched my life.
Genesis 2:2-3 says, “On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.”
God created all of the earth and its inhabitants in 6 days and on the seventh day He stopped. He rested and called that day “holy.” This is so important because anything that God calls “holy” we must also call “holy.” This aligns our heart with His heart because we assign to that thing the same value that God assigns to it.
This seventh day of rest is where we get the concept and practice of the Sabbath or Shabbat in Hebrew. Being Jewish, I grew up practicing Shabbat and, now that I have a family of my own, we practice Shabbat in our home weekly.
We know that God is serious about Shabbat because when He gives the 10 commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, He includes remembering the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Again, we see the word “holy,” here.
In fact, the Jewish people believe that Shabbat is the most important holiday. Even more important than Yom Kippur because God Himself modeled it for us and commanded us to do it.
So not only do we see God model Shabbat to us, but we have Him commanding the Jewish people, and now all of those grafted into the family of God, to honor and participate in Shabbat.
Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday night when the first 3 stars appear in the sky and concludes at sundown on Saturday night when the first 3 stars appear in the sky. I like to think of these stars as representatives of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, all points back to Adonai.
There are 3 main attributes to Shabbat that I will share with you briefly. These are rest, holiness, and joy.
Shabbat is a time to rest from the busyness of life. A time to set a side work and the noise of the news, politics, social media, etc., and focus on relaxing.
The second aspect is holiness. Shabbat is a time to spend one-on-one time with God, to worship, to read His word, and commune with God’s presence. Personally, I have found that I hear God speak to my spirit most consistently during Shabbat and I think this is because I am taking the time to fix my attention on Him.
The last aspect of Shabbat I want to highlight is joy. Shabbat is a time to gather your family and friends around the table and break bread. A time to have a meal together and celebrate life. This is a time to do things that bring you and your family joy. As a family, we enjoy going on walks together. We get out into nature and soak in God’s beautiful creation.
Shabbat is also a time for the family to gather and recalibrate priorities. One of my personal favorite aspects of Shabbat is the lighting of the Shabbat candles. This is done by the mother or wife of the household. I believe that while the husband or father is the spiritual covering of a home, the wife drives the actual spiritual atmosphere of the home. When my wife, Rebecca, lights the Shabbat candles, she invites the Holy Spirit and God’s presence into our home. The lighting of the candles is symbolic to the driving out of the darkness of the world and inviting in the light of Yeshua the Messiah. There is power in words we speak and this conscious act brings the tangible presence of God into our homes.
The last point I will leave you with today is something unique in the way God’s timing works. The calendar we have today comes from the Greek or Babylonian time when the days of week were named after the Greek gods or celestial objects i.e. Sun Day or Moon Day, which is Monday.
But the Biblical way of counting days which continues to this day in Israel, is numerical. Sunday is Yom Rishon (or the first day), Monday is Yom Shenni (or the second day), and so on. So literally every week, we are counting up the days to Shabbat. We are counting the days to the one day of the week that God has called “holy” and we set it apart for us to commune with Him.
I want to pray a prayer of blessing over you and your home. I hope that this encourages you to enter a time of rest, holiness, and joy by celebrating Shabbat.
In Hebrew we say:
Ba-rukh at-tah Adonai E-lo-he-nu Me-lekh ha-o-lam,
A-sher na-tan la-nu chag-gim, chuk-kot, u-mo-a-dim le-sim-cha,
Likh-vod Yeshua ha-ma-shi-ach A-do-ne-nu, or ha-o-lam
“Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who has given us holidays, customs and seasons of happiness,
For the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the Light of the World.” Amen
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