Adam and Eve spent the first Sabbath with God, rejoicing in His beautiful new creation and His love for them. It was a day of rest, gladness and fellowship.
The Sabbath is still an invitation to dine upon God’s goodness and love. It is a day of fellowship with our Creator, a day to rest in Jesus as our Redeemer. He provides “Sabbath rest” (Hebrews 4:9 ESV) for our souls. When we observe the seventh-day Sabbath, we give evidence that we have received that rest (Exodus 31:13) and that Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) is abiding in our hearts.
Yet for many of us, our Sabbath keeping has lost its holy glow. How can we return to the Eden ideal of Sabbath keeping? It begins on Sunday morning.
How do we prepare to keep the Sabbath?
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work (Exodus 20:9).
The first six days of the week are a prelude to the seventh. They exist to prepare for the holy Sabbath day, the high point of every week. What we do on those days directly impacts the blessing that we receive on the seventh. It’s vital to stay connected with our Savior throughout the week.
Here are a few practical ways to prepare for the spiritual feast that Sabbath brings:
- Time in prayer and the Scriptures fuels each day and prepares us for witnessing opportunities that God has in store. It’s a pleasure to share the experiences we have in an active Christian life with fellow believers on Sabbath.
- Attending prayer meeting is a great way to recharge spiritually and encourage others as we look forward to celebrating the Sabbath together.
- It’s important that we make biblically approved work and entertainment choices during the week. If we don’t honor God in these things, we’ll not care to honor Him in Sabbath keeping.
- Plan to be done with all work several hours before sunset. Nothing can ruin a Sabbath evening like working up till the last minute on Friday. We should give our minds time to disengage from secular activities.
How should we celebrate the Sabbath?
“The seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:10).
On the Sabbath, we say YES to Jesus and NO to consumerism, capitalism, competition, and secular entertainment. We are told not to buy, sell, work, or pursue our own pleasure (Exodus 20:10; Nehemiah 13:15–22; Isaiah 58:13). This frees us from the secular activities that take up so much of our time during the week. It is a day to remember that Jesus is all we need.
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Here are some ideas for getting the most out of this blessed day:
- Worship with a community of faith on the Sabbath. This is encouraging and uplifting, for it is a “holy convocation” in which God has promised to join us (Leviticus 23:3; Matthew 18:20).
- Take advantage of the sacred hours to spend extra time in prayer and study. God has set aside this time so that we can get to know him better.
- Sabbath gives us more time to spend with friends and family. Exploring God’s creative works with others in nature is particularly appropriate.
- Jesus often taught in the synagogue and healed on the Sabbath. Ministering to the needs of others on the Sabbath is an excellent way to share God’s love with others.
Above all, the Sabbath is about developing loving relationships with God and our fellow humans. We are invited to enter this holy space and experience heightened fellowship with our Maker every week. It existed before sin and continues to be a sanctuary for God’s people. The Sabbath gives us a taste of the world to come when “from new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath” (Isaiah 66:23 ESV) all God’s children will worship Him in unity and celebrate His goodness throughout eternal ages.