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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

Completed:

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.

Rested:

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.

Blessed:

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.

Sanctified:

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]

Ben NelsonBlessings on you today

See you tomorrow.

Ben

Matthew 5:3
Blessed... 

I want to share with you something off the charts about the word “Blessed.” We toss this word around pretty carelessly. If someone sneezes we say “Bless you!” or if we are real spiritual we might say “Ga bless you!” But this Greek word “Blessed” is pregnant with meaning. If you read the beatitudes in the Amplified Bible you will see the word “Blessed” rendered 14 different ways in these 8 statements. 

  • Happy
  • Blessed
  • To be envied
  • Spiritually prosperous
  • With life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions
  • Enviably happy
  • With a happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace
  • Blithesome (who knows what that means in this day and age – but you get the idea.)
  • Joyous 
  • Fortunate
  • In that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation   
  • Enviably fortunate
  • Possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions.  
  • Enjoying enviable happiness.
  • In the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions.
 Blessing holds Assignment, Ability, and Authority [Tweet ThisFar from being a wish for good luck, a blessing has in it vision, authority and power. We treat our words very lightly these days, and can blow off the power of our words. God spoke the worlds into being and we make off handed comments that hurt others, or destroy our own confidence. Consider the power of blessing:
Creation:  
And 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.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. ~ Gen 1:28-31 
Notice that after He created, He blessed man. This blessing holds in it His expectation for man. “Be fruitfuland multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it.” It is both blessing and commission or command! But God never expects from us that which is too much for us. He never puts on us burdens we cannot bear.
God’s blessing acts as an assignment or commission. When God gives an assignment is it much more than an errand to run. Think about Nehemiah. When the king sent him to rebuild the walls of the city, the king gave him his blessing and assigned to him the resources, and authority to complete the mission.
God’s blessings grant authority. When God told Adam to subdue the earth, God was telling Adam that he had the authority to rule the earth, all creations was in subjection to Adam at that point. God had given him the authority to rule.
God’s blessing reveals ability. It would be unreasonable for God to expect us to subdue the earth if we did not have the capacity. This blessing not only tells us we are called to do this thing, but that He stands behind us and will back us up with power. Adam could fulfill all that God blessed him to do.
As we read the Beatitudes, we will see God’s plan for us – we will receive assignment, authority and ability to be what He calls us to be. What follows is a path leading from man on the street to son or daughter of the King, exercising authority and ability carrying out His assignment.
Ben NelsonThanks for reading.
Come back soon!
Ben