The Sabbath Day?

April 3, 2014

The Sabbath Day?

Luke 14:3
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?

The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, a day or rest from daily routines and the tasks of laboring for our natural needs. While the Jewish leaders of the day took this day quite literally, even to the point of making it more work to keep the Sabbath than to rest in it. Jesus has some higher principles He is communicating to the people that have spiritual ears to hear. Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath and the Jewish leadership of that day didn’t like the fact that He didn’t fit in their religious box. What kind of religious boxes have we built to confine what God can do and when He can do it?
Hebrews 4:9-11 says this, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” This REST references the true Sabbath that God wants to bring His people into. It is the REST that we want to labor or give diligence to enter into where it is no longer our Works, but we are resting in Him and the works that we do are His works, no longer our own. How do we enter this REST? The Word says it is only by faith, faith not in ourselves, but in the One who called us out of unbelief and into His REST. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” The true Sabbath and REST of God is a promise and like all promises it comes by faith. Prior to this we have the account of how the Lord swore to Israel when Moses led them out into the wilderness that they would not enter into God’s REST because of their unbelief. It is pretty obvious that the religious leadership of Jesus’ day had the same mindset. God is warning us, “don’t be like them and miss what Sabbath is all about.” Sabbath is about a continual abiding in Christ. It is not just a day of the week, but a time when we find our place in God where we quit struggling with life through our human efforts and begin to deal with life in the REST of God. Jesus is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the Sabbath. He is God’s REST for us, not in the context of religion or knowing about Him, but in experiencing Him daily, in every activity, every conversation, in our thoughts, in every station of life.
You may say, “Don’t’ you think that is little idealistic and impractical?” I think the Lord would say, ‘there is a promise to you who lay hold of it by faith.’ It is a progressive work and that is why He says, “let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” It is a daily walk of denying ourselves; picking up the cross and saying yes Holy Spirit, and yes to the Word of God. In the path of obedience and faith is our REST. As we enter into that Sabbath Rest of God we will do the Lord’s work even on the Sabbath.
Think of it not as just a day to keep ordinances and rules, but a place of REST where God is our continual delight and dwelling place. We are living in the Sabbath Day and it is time for us to enter into His REST.

Isaiah 58:13-14
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words, delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. “

Blessings,
#kent

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The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

This key verse was spoken in an interesting setting. A remnant of the children of Israel had returned from captivity in Babylon. The city of Jerusalem was in ruin with its walls torn down. Under the leadership that God raised up through such great men as Ezra and Nehemiah the people were organized and the walls of the city were rebuilt through adversity and opposition of surrounding peoples. Now the city, walls and temple of Jerusalem were in ruin because God had brought judgement upon Israel for their sin and rebellion against God. After seventy years of captivity and exile from their country the people have been allowed to return and begin again to pick up the pieces and rebuild their city. When we come to the point where this verse is given we find the walls have been rebuilt and the gates have been hung. The work on the walls is done and all the people have gathered in Jerusalem to hear the Law of Moses read and explained to them. From early morning till noon the people listened attentively as the Word was read and explained to them. The people began to weep, for the verse prior reads, “And Nehemiah, which [is] the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day [is] holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.” Then, in our key verse, the people are exhorted and encouraged, ” Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Through our lives we are pretty much follow the same pattern as the Israelites of old who tend to go through many cycles of God’s goodness and blessing, then the people would forget and eventually turn from God to pursue sin. God would lovingly and patiently warn them, they would stubbornly and rebelliously ignore Him until the consequences of their sin and unwillingness to repent would bring judgement upon them. Under the hand of judgement the people would repent, turn from sin, and cry out to God. God in His loving mercy and kindness would hear them, restore and again bless them. Eventually the cycle would repeat itself. Have our personal lives been so different? This event takes place at a time the people have just returned from the judgement of God through their exile to Babylon. God has dealt with them even further through Nehemiah and others. They have labored to build up again not only the physical walls, but the spiritual walls of their walk with God. They learned in a practical way to put on the whole armor of God so that they no longer have to fear or submit to the surrounding threats of the enemy. Now as they sat and really heard the Word of God, just as we must sit and really, from a hungry and contrite heart, hear the God’s Word, it breaks our heart, because we realize how much we have grieved the heart of God through our life and our actions. We, like the people of that day, become truly broken and repentant as we are convicted by God’s Word. The Spirit of the Lord that day was not there to bring condemnation, or rebuke. The Spirit of the Lord, that day, was to make glad. We find that when we really come through a place where we have acknowledged and repented of sin in our lives then there comes a day of true joy. We feel the freshness and forgiveness of God’s cleansing. We often will weep for joy at God’s incomprehensible goodness, patience and love toward us in that He still loves us and embraces us back into His fellowship. May there be a day, as we have come through that place of repentance and restoration of right fellowship, that we have a holy day, a day when God dries our tears and blesses us. Let there be a day when we eat of the fat of His blessing and drink the sweetness of His love and mercy. As we are blessed in His goodness, He exhorts us to go our way and make our blessing in Him a blessing to those that have not. We become the portions for whom no portions has been prepared. Our joy is our strength to live, with renewed commitment, a life that is holy unto Him. It is not a day to be sorry, but a day for joy, as we experience God’s renewed presence and blessing, “For the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Blessings,
kent

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