The Blessing of the True Sabbath.

In the light of the resurrection, the whole world, the whole universe – looks different. That light shines into the darkest recesses and changes everything. But what about all this suffering and hardship we are experiencing? In 1Peter 5:6,7, I have said humble yourself under my Mighty hand. Now the world is filled with pride even in my children – believing that their victories are theirs and not mine – just remember clearly –“ you are just a sinner saved by Grace”. Everything that you are achieving are just signs of the process of salvation I am doing in your life. So I need to strip away your sense of security placed in the wrong things so that you will find your security in me alone. everywhere where my children are suffering I am working in many ways and I always sustain them and not test them or you more than you can bear with my help. But I am teaching you to have the correct perspective. What you are and what you do are just gifts from Me. So 1 Peter 5:7 Roll your burdens onto me and I will tenderly care for you – you must just trust that promise and do it.

Now we come to Isaiah 56. At a quick glance you will see that the phrase “Who keep my Sabbaths” is repeated. The question is, “how should we interpret this under the New Covenant?” The danger is that the wrong interpretation actually can skew our Christian walk. I recently heard a speaker going on about how the church has fallen away and his solution? To go back to celebrating the Sabbath. He was focusing on the many people who braai and drink on a Friday evening when they should rather be celebrating the Sabbath.

OK, so let us look at ch 56. The key word is in vs 1, “salvation”. This chapter continues with the invitation issued in ch 55. The whole of what is discussed falls under the umbrella of salvation. Remember that salvation is not a once-off act, it is a continuous process which is started at a specific time, but only completed when we are with the Lord. So the invitation in ch 55 has been to the Israeli nation. To continue with this process, 56:2, “Happy (blessed”, is a picture of a right relationship with God) is the one who, does right, and preserves justice and keeps his hand from evil. These are signs of what, in ch 56? They are signs that the person is keeping the Sabbath.

From vs 3 – 8 he now includes two other groups of people who have apparently been excluded from this blessing. Eunuchs and foreigners. Many men have been made into eunuchs in Babylon and as such have been cut off from their inheritance. Also this is a reminder that it is part of God’s plan to include foreigners in His salvation plan.

Why is the key to this the keeping of the Sabbaths and holding fast onto the covenant? Briefly this is how it works. The Sabbath celebration in the Old Testament was looking forward to being fulfilled in Jesus when he came, as part of the New Covenant. The Sabbath had two components. The concept of rest and a sign to remind the people of the conditions of the Old Covenant, placing Yahweh at the center of their whole lives. (Exodus 31:13).

Under the New Covenant, Jesus represents the center of worship in Himself. It is no longer appropriate to only worship Him on a specific day, we are to do that at all times and continually cf Romans 12:1. Furthermore, we find rest in Him cf Matt 11:28. “Come unto me and I will give you ??? REST”. In Jesus we find the ultimate rest from our works in trying to achieve our own salvation. To keep the Sabbath under the New Covenant is another way to say we must maintain our ongoing relationship with Jesus. It is a continuous experience and responsibility.

So when we look at Isaiah 56, we see that those groups of people (that actually means everyone), mentioned three times will be happy or blessed with the ongoing benefits of salvation if they maintain their ongoing relationship with Yahweh. And the “house of prayer”? Well, Jesus made it clear that He also came to fulfill the role of the temple, or God’s house of prayer. So those who keep the Sabbath can enjoy and rejoice in Jesus, with all the others who are doing the same.

Beautiful isn’t it? Such a waste to focus on a day when we should be focusing on Jesus in person and our relationship with Him. Easter is such a great reminder of just that. Of course it is also a very strong reminder, as we saw how important God saw the role of the Sabbath in the OT, of the importance of keeping our regular times of worship and prayer and rejoicing in Him.

5 Replies to “The Blessing of the True Sabbath.”

  1. Grace transforms lives. Faith finds expression in service, or in what Paul so often calls good works. These fruits are the natural abundance flowing from a heart rooted in Christ. It is what happens when a heart, an ear, an eye is turned to and fixed on the Master, eager to follow and obey.
    This is not the exclusive domain of the New Covenant. This is the way it worked even in the Old. David, Job, Abraham – they all walked this walk of faith, and grace, waiting and trusting in the Promise of Salvation, the Lamb of God sacrificed on the Passover to take away our sin. They certainly weren’t saved by their performance or keeping of God’s Sabbath! And neither are we. Yet, God asks the same of us. It’s called faithfulness and integrity, and is only possible when we’re ‘plugged in’, rooted, powered by the Holy One.

    I see the keeping of the Sabbath as a blessing. It’s part and parcel of my worship – and that worship extends to the other six days of the week, where my worship finds expression in other necessary activities. We have to work, perform duties, be busy with daily tasks, and do all of this to glorify God. But the Sabbath is set apart for exclusive time of celebration, worship, coming together and submitting to our God as our only authority, salvation, and Creator. A time to cease all the other activities for a special blessing and rejuvenation.

    I like what I read in an online article this morning:
    “Performance and accountability are profoundly important to the Christian life, and we cannot dismiss them as secular concerns of no importance to God. God cares whether we are slacking off, neglecting our duties, not showing up for work, or going through the motions without genuine attention to our work.”

    So yes, a Sabbath rest remains, and is such a blessing. A time to simply rest, commune, study the Word and dwell in God’s grace, knowing that He bought me at the highest price, and that following Him costs everything, and nothing ❤️🙏

    1. Thanks Christine, for engaging with the passage. It seems you may not have understood the full significance of what I was teaching. It is so important that we get the interpretation of he Old Testament right, so that we can apply it accurately. By saying you, “Keep the Sabbath” for whatever reason, is the same as saying, “I love Cape Town, but you know what the first time I saw the sign at Paarl pointing to Cape Town I was so excited that I regularly go back and look at it”. IOW putting the sign on the same level as the real thing. You see, cutting down to the basics, the Sabbath is a sign which was pointing to, not something or some time, but to a Person, Jesus. I understand where you are coming from. In our Afrikaans culture (mine as well), the Sabbath was a very important part of Christianity. That was due to the wrong interpretation of the scripture though. Now note, I am not saying that it is wrong to set aside a specific day for worship and rest, but the early disciples avoided any misunderstanding by celebrating that day on Sunday and calling it, “The Lord’s Day”, not he Sabbath. I will say a bit more about this in today’s blog. God bless

  2. Amen!! Christine you are so focused and I can learn from you. The lights are about to go out….. I must hurry. The Light of the World knows no power failure nor load-shedding. Hallelujah!

    Quoting Ian: “Remember that salvation is not a once-off act. It is a continuous process (sanctification?) which is started at a specific time.”
    Sorting my journals before I go to glory brought me to “Santification” which kept surfacing again and again over the years. Now I would like to draw it together….in the meantime I leave 1 Thess. 5:23 with you….”And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through – that is separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God – and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.”

  3. The world is darkness ! Only the Lord is the true light in His Kingdom will be no darkness. In my life I need the Lord with every breath i take every moment. I feel blessed beyond description that i believe in my living Lord and Savior with every atom of my being. 11 totally frightening cowardly disciples could never have changed and died for their belief without the resurrection . From a psychological perspective it is impossible that 500 people can have the same hallucinations who saw the living Christ. The most important need we have in this dark world is peace with our Holy Lord. By faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ we will.have peace with our blessed Father. By faith in Christ we are being united to our Holy Lord and we are justified by Him through faith in Christ. ” Therefore having been made righteous by trusting , we have SHALOM with God through our Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah . Through Him.we have also gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast in the hope of God’s Glory .” Romans 5 1 All.Glory and power be to our Holy Lord forever and ever ! Amen

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