“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
When Yahweh brought the descendents of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He led them to Mt. Sinai. There He made treaty with them to be their ruler and to establish them as a nation.
The fourth requirement He made with them was to set apart every seventh day as holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.” (Ex 20:8)
Today’s descendents of Israel and Seventh-Day Adventists insist that only the seventh day of the Western calendar – Saturday – can be set aside for rest, worship, and building relationship with God. On the other hand, most Christians use the first day of the week – the Lord’s Day – to weekly celebrate His resurrection from the dead. This is their day to cease striving after wealth, to worship and seek after Him.
I find it interesting that Yahweh did not specify which day of the week to honor as Sabbath as He did for celebrating Passover or Yom Kippur or Succoth [Lev 23]. Did the ancient Hebrews have a seven-day week before the Sabbath day was established?
Also fascinating is the question of when the priests and Levites rested from their work of offering the Israelites’ sacrifices to Yahweh. After all, the Christian ministers I know rest on Mondays rather than on Sundays. As well, many employees of hospitals, stores, and other places where people require daily service are not allowed Sundays off. Rather, they are given mid-week days off.
This, of course, suggests that no particular day of the week is required to be the Sabbath day. Rather, each person must decide for him- or herself which day to use for rest. The only requirement is that each person take some day of the week to rest from striving after wealth, to worship Yahweh, and to build relationship with Him.
In his Masters dissertation, GOD IS JUST: A DEFENSE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT CIVIL LAWS, Stephen Che Halbrook pointed out the words of Jesus, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” [Mark 2:27] Good health requires individuals to forego working seven days a week. Halbrook also shows that allowing one’s family and servants – even one’s animals – a rest day prevents abuse through overwork.
Halbrook also gives examples that ignoring the Sabbath is the first step to a life of crime. Seeking after God and His ways instead counters that lifestyle.
I am not suggesting that anyone force people to observe Sabbath days. As Halbrook points out, following biblical laws begins with the individual’s conscience guided by faith in Yahweh.
Above all, taking a day off instead of continuing to pursue wealth shows trust in Yahweh to provide for the future. Changing one’s activities for a day also recreates a person’s physical and mental abilities. This makes the person better able to pursue the wealth Yahweh desires for His people.
On your days off, do you rest or merely perform work in another place—such as home? How could you arrange to get such work done one day and actually rest the other?
If you do rest one day a week, do you seek after knowing God, take time to worship Him?
Could He possibly have ideas for how you can find rest? Would you follow them?