Keeping the Sabbath

The Hebrew word is: “Shabbat” – Quit!…Stop!…take a break!

Gen. 2:1-4 – after 6 days of creation: God stopped

-Sabbath: a deliberate, intentional act of interference, an interruption of our own work week

-two forms: same command – different reasons given

Ex. 20:8-11 – this is what God did

-God worked 6; quit on 7th

-when we remember & rest, we enter into and maintain the rhythm of creation in ourselves

-we keep time with God; maintaining this creation rhythm builds for us and in us weekly protection against attacks on our time

Dt. 5:12-15 – in Egypt as slaves: work, work, work

-incessant, unrelieved work; now that they have been saved, they must never perpetuate such oppression – they must quit each 7th day so that their slaves, livestock, children get a day off

-there is more to work than work! – there is God: God in completion, in rest, in blessing, in making holy

-we each are in a workplace too – but without Sabbath, our workplace is soon emptied of the sense of God’s presence & work becomes an end in itself

-the Sabbath command is conspicuously reaffirmed by Jesus

How are we to keep the Sabbath?

-for Israel & the Church – weekly acts of worship in the company of the people of God – there is more to Sabbath-keeping but this is where it starts (not where it ends but it is where it starts)

What Sabbath-keeping does in us (if we choose to let it!)

-it cultivates attentiveness & adoration; develops into a capacity for wonder during the other 6 days of the week

-the main location for spiritual formation is the workplace

Further Reading

Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God, W Publishing Group, 2006

Marva Dawn, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989