It all starts in creation. Sabbath starts when time starts. Before creation, no time, no Sabbath, with the beginning of counting days, we begin marking Sabbaths.
As I mentioned last week, I have been reading a book by Rabbi Daniel Lapin called “Thou Shall Prosper.” It is a business book, but he makes some fascinating observations about the way the orthodox Jew reads and understands scripture.
He makes this awesome point that God’s rest in creation was not a reaction to the hard work of creation, but the culmination of it. He had the Sabbath in mind before He began to create. In Rabbi Lapin’s words, Sabbath was last in creation, but first in thought. It was the goal of creation, not a reaction to it.
That said, what I want to do today is simply share some OT scriptures and briefly highlight some points.
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. - Genesis 2:2-3
I can hear God’s voice saying “It is finished.” But creation is not a painting that will hang on a wall, or sit in an attic. Rather, it is a living, breathing, spinning, glowing, growing, whirling, orbiting, procreating, extravaganza. And when God sits and rests, He is not folding arms across chest, He is interacting with, breathing life into, speaking to, and singing over it with all His considerable heart.
This word “rested” is the root word for the Hebrew “Sabbath.” That is basically the topic for the week, so I won't dwell on this sub-point.
Then He blessed the Sabbath – oh how I love the word blessed! You can see just a few verses earlier that God’s blessing is more than a happy wish.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." - Genesis 1:27-28
As you can see God’s blessing, as I have said before carries with it assignment, authority and ability. God gave Adam and Eve something to do, He gave them the right, the dominion to carry out His instructions and He gave the ability to carry it out. To read more check out “The Three ‘A’s of Blessing.”
So what has He assigned, authorized, and enabled the Sabbath to accomplish? Think on that for a while! Perhaps we can tackle that one on Friday Q&A.
Next thing to notice is that He sanctified it. He made it holy. He set it apart. He made it district from all other days. Again from the book “Thou Shall Prosper” Rabbi Daniel Lapin says (which I have confirmed here) that in Hebrew, week days do not have their own names with the exception of Sabbath. Just as in creation, they were, and are called the first day, the second day, and so on, with the exception of Sabbath, which is not call the seventh day, but is called REST.
God sanctified it, but He commanded us to keep it holy. As we will see further into the Old Testament, much of the judgment that Israel suffered was because they did not keep the Lord's Sabbath holy, but rather allowed them, these centuries of sabbaths, to be profaned. And how would one profane the Sabbath? Work. Work is the great pollution of this holy day.
Well, I guess I bit off more than I could chew. I was hoping to do the Old Testament in one day, but, in order to keep things from getting way out of control, I will come back to this tomorrow.
For today, let’s meditate on this question. What is the Sabbath commissioned to do in the life of a believer? [Tweet This]
See you tomorrow.