Honoring the Sabbath

based on an LGG Study, From Broken to Restored / w6d2

Scripture: Nehemiah 13:15-22; Mark 2:23-28 / SOAP: Mark 2:27-28

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. 28 For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:27-28

From time to time I like to share tidbits from the LGG Journals because I think their Devotions are one of the greatest assets. However, today, I am sharing the entire devotion – A) Because I believe it has much to offer in helping us to understand the importance of the Sabbath, both then and now … and B) because, I want you to see the value of having the journals they offer with each study. You can check out their availability and options at https://lovegodgreatly.com/lgg/bible-studies/

What’s the Deal With the Sabbath?

The spiritual rebuilding of God’s people did not happen overnight. In fact, the final sections of Nehemiah cover several decades, showing the ways Nehemiah and the leaders continually corrected the people when they strayed from the law. Just as they repeatedly intermarried with foreign nations, the people also fell into habits of not honoring the Sabbath.

Nehemiah corrected the people and even set up guards to ensure that the Sabbath would be honored the way God intended. Nehemiah’s intent in doing this was to guard the people against falling into the sin of despising the Sabbath, one of the factors that led to their idolatry and exile in previous generations. Nehemiah set out to help the people walk in God’s commands and not fall into a sinful pattern. His heart was to honor God and preserve his people like he had done since he first began rebuilding the wall.

Over time, the laws around the Sabbath became more rigid . The religious leaders set up extra guidelines and rules to ensure that no one came close to breaking the Sabbath laws, or any laws for that matter. The problem was that their hearts were not in the right place. They lost sight of what was truly important: honoring God and trusting Him to provide even though they took a day of rest. Instead, they made very rigid rules, feeling self-righteous for keeping them and condemning those who didn’t.

Jesus showed us a different way. He showed the religious leaders and His followers the true intent of the law: to provide a time of rest and celebration for God’s people. The healing He did on the Sabbath led to rest and celebration. The Sabbath was created to provide rest for God’s people so they would remember that He alone sustains them.

Today, we can honor God by keeping the Sabbath. While we are not bound to the Sabbath law the same way the Jews were, taking a day to cease work and celebrate God’s goodness is an important practice for Christians. We stop working, showing our trust in God and His ability and willingness to provide for us. We celebrate His goodness, stopping to remember His constant faithfulness. May we be people of faith, who stop to rest in God’s power and ability and celebrate His goodness.

Make it Personal – Reflection

What are your perceptions of the Sabbath? Do you currently practice Sabbath rest? Why or why not?

Going Further

What does it mean that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath?

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