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Is the Sabbath a Commandment?

My reaction to those who insist on Sabbath worship was probably typical. I could see the commandment in the Old Testament, but being told it was a requirement, with a sense of judgment if I did not observe the Sabbath, was somehow unsettling.

Recently I discovered a powerful perspective on Sabbath worship which has solved my dilemma. Honoring the Sabbath is not a requirement, nor is it a responsibility. Instead, the Sabbath is a gift that God has given to His people.

A gift can be accepted or rejected, but God never stops offering the Sabbath as a gift. What is important about this gift, I suggest, is the benefits and blessings that it offers.

I have found that resting from work one day each week eliminates all distractions. There are no phone calls, no pressing obligations, and no interruptions. This makes the Sabbath a special time with God when we can experience a close relationship with Him.

Equally important, the Sabbath is a day for special time with your family. I can see in Scripture that family is another gift from God, starting with the relationship of a husband and wife and then expanding to include children and grandchildren.

So, the Sabbath is a gift. We can accept it and grow closer to God and our family, or we can continue with our busy lives. No matter what we choose, we will either be opening our gift or letting it sit on the shelf.

Comments (11)

  • Karen

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    Well said Anne, it is so refreshing to hear of God’s gift to us while others see it as a “laborious” command! Thanks.

    Reply

  • larry smith

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    Anne,
    Arent the ten words REQUIRED of HIS people? Of course we have the option of not obeying any or all of them, but isnt that one of the issues with the BODY today? Doesnt instructions always bring about a type of judgement? Thanks

    Reply

  • Anne Davis

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    You use the English word “require,” which caught my attention. The
    English NASB translation uses that English word occasionally for
    several Hebrew words. But the Hebrew words do not mean compulsory and obligatory which is the meaning of the English.

    I can’t use Hebrew letters here, so I will transliterate.
    1. “I will require your lifeblood” (Gen 9:5). The Hebrew is darash,
    which means to seek or inquire.
    2. “What does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God” (Dt 10:12). The Hebrew is sha’al, which means to ask or inquire.
    3. ” If we have built us an altar to turn away from following the LORD,
    or if to offer a burnt offering or grain offering on it, or if to offer
    sacrifices of peace offerings on it, may the LORD Himself require it” (Jos 22:23). The Hebrew word is baqash, which means “to seek.”
    4. This one says it all:” What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:8) The Hebrew word here is darash, which again means to seek.

    This is what God seeks from His children. He doesn’t require it “to be saved.” We are His children. By the way, He also “seeks” a close relationship with His children, which is what the Sabbath is all about. I see the Sabbath as a gift.

    I think, in my own personal walk with the Lord, I was in the
    “requirement stage” for a while, and that served a really good purpose.
    I had a lot to learn. I see this “requirement stage” as a Father
    working with His children to instruct them in righteousness so they can
    fellowship with Him. But as we mature, God draws us to Him simply with His incredible and overpowering love. We leave the requirements behind because we have internalized them.

    Please keep in mind that these are only my personal thoughts, and my
    own walk with the Lord. The Hebraic way of teaching is not to make “my way the highway,” but to stimulate thought and discussion. I am pleased as punch that you took the time to share your thoughts with me, and I sincerely apologize if my thoughts disturbed your peace with the Lord in any way.

    Reply

    • Judy

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      So, the 10 WORDS are not commandments, but suggestions/or gifts. To love the LORD with all my heart is a gift, which it is, but it’s also just that, a gift, not a commandment. Mmmmm….I just don’t see it that way. I can see me trying real hard to obey but not getting chastized for failing to love my LORD as I should. I know, one day, He will carve His commands on my heart and I won’t have to even THINK about it anymore. How does that sound? HELP!

      Reply

  • Pamela Rogers

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    Thank you, Anne, for this insight about the Sabbath. It is a gift from the Father, a precious gift. I also have been told that if I did not observe the Sabbath in like-manner as others, then I was out of covenant…those are certainly hurtful words. Sabbath is a time to spend with the Father, as He directs you – it is your time with Him.
    We must not be so judgmental of others.
    Thank you again and blessings to you,
    Pam Rogers

    Reply

  • JohnKnight

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    Hi Ann;
    We must be careful as to not create another option, which we have been given the authority to do, but YHVH always has to deal with our range of perception – some times we enter into relationship with YHVH on a spiritual level but more often YHVH is instructing or speaking to us on a carnal level. No matter where we are at YHVH is always Light, Life, Love and if we fail to perceive HIM then we deceive ourselves and can create an option or reality that is not scriptural or TRUE. From YHVH’s perspective if the Sabbath is defiled, brought down to the carnal level, We must cleanse ourselves. If we fail to heed HIS instruction in Righteousness we will then be guilty of disobedience which is sin. So consider the Sabbath as a gift but my warning is do not fail to be obedient in your “shomering” Keeping the Sabbath. The Kingdom is within. Cleansing will be very necessary as we proclaim, establish the Kingdom on Earth. Purify yourselves even as HE is Pure. 1John 3. Very simply Live by choosing Life or Die by choosing your/my own way. There is only One God/Elohim, One Savior/Y’shua, and One Law/TORAH. If you are bowing to another god, following a false savior and are in bondage to the law of sin and death; repent, purify yourself and return to HIS/YHVH’s instructions. I’m giving the fool’s instructions which I have found can overcome the “wisdom of the world.”

    Reply

    • Anne Davis

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      Thank you for taking the time to respond with this thoughtful comment. Could it be that failing to obey means we do not receive the blessings?

      Reply

  • Wilma

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    The Festivals are also part of God’s Sabbath I have read. As all the commandments it reveals the character of our Savior. Relationship always is two people walking in fellowship together. However, in the case of our covenant with God He is the one with all the wisdom. We bring nothing to the conversation but our praise and worship yielding to His help in discovery of all that He made us to be and all that He designed us to be. It is unwise and breaking of covenant with Him on our part to pick and choose which commandments we like the best. They are all for our life and give us great success and happiness. Your answer is peaceable and will make people think of God’s goodness. Shalom!

    Reply

    • Anne Davis

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      It sounds like you have a good grasp on the festivals. Thank you for your perspective.

      Reply

  • iDoris

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    Two things caught my attention. 1- judgment & 2- gift. 1 In our judicial system it is the judge’s job to meet out punishment but the jury’s jobto decide guilt. I am a member of the jury and must restrict myself to follow the letter of the law. Punishment belongs only to GOD. 2- I also consider the Sabbath a gift and would be afraid to insult the giver of that gift by rejecting it since He has the power to destroy both body and spirit.

    Reply

    • Anne Davis

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      I appreciate your perceptive comments.

      Reply

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