What is the Sabbath?


I think a lot of times, we look at Sabbath as simply a day off.  In Scripture, we are told to “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”  Through the centuries, it came to mean that you weren’t supposed to work at all on the Sabbath.  Even today, there are people who observe the Sabbath as simply a day off.  Try going to Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby on a Sunday, and you’ll see the “taking a day off” mentality of the Sabbath.  However, the Sabbath is more than just a day off.  It is a day of holy rest.

Remembering the Sabbath means more than taking a day off of work so that you can get stuff done around the house.  It is a day of holy rest.  It is an opportunity to reorient ourselves towards the Creator.  To remember what it is that God has done.

When the people of Israel received the Ten Commandments – where the idea of remembering the Sabbath is first brought up – they were freed slaves.  Do you know what day slaves get off?  All of the days following their death.  They didn’t get paid vacation or weekends to party.  They worked… and worked… and worked… until they died.  However, now they are free, and God tells them something very important: take a day each week to remember who you are and whose you are; to remember that you are a child of the Creator – who took a day off after creation.

Sabbath is a time for us to remember.  A time for us to “raise our level of peace” as I heard it said on a podcast this week.  It’s not just a day off.  It’s not just a time for us to do the home to-do list.  It’s a time to reconnect with a holy God.  This is what Jesus means when he says, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).