“Remember The Sabbath Day By Keeping It Holy(Ex.20:8-11).
The Genesis story of Creation says, “by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested.” He “blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating…”(Gen.2:2-3). The Hebrew verb translated “rest’ is the origin of the noun “Sabbath.”
The first record of obligatory Sabbath observance is when Israel was on the exodus journey to Sinai as in Exodus 16.
Among the decalogue is the commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days…” the LORD made everything “…but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
The Sabbath was to be observed as a day of rest and because the LORD had made it holy.
But it seems that was not the only reasons for the Sabbath observance.
The Sabbath observance was also a reminder that they were once slaves in Egypt before the LORD brought them out with a mighty hand(Dt.5:15).
Reading the Sabbath day observance from a liberation perspective we realise that the Sabbath observance is a liberating reprieve to slaves, servants and aliens, and animals of burden. This is evidenced in that the man who is able to have slaves, servants and beasts of burden is from the middle class upwards. Such persons are masters whose only work with their children are supervisors.
Without this official day of rest, the servants would have to work seven days on seven.
As the world evolves, perspectives are changing, with new paradigm shifts. While we are still being scared that machines and robots are creating joblessness, AI has come to scare us even more.
More and more there would be more time of rest for the majority of people. People would not just be idle loafers, but jobless idlers.
Apart from this new paradigm shift, the six days work week have since changed. That is why on Fridays you see postings like, “Thank God it’s Friday!”
While the Jewish Sabbath is on today’s Saturday, the Christian Sabbath is Sunday, the Lord’s day because it commemorates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians observe this day not only by resting but by attending Worship Services or Masses. But the Mass or Sunday Service is not what makes the day holy. If we indulge in revelry and licientiousness after Service then the day is no longer holy. And like we said yesterday, if during or after service we go about setting traps for others, then the day is no longer holy.
That notwithstanding, the Sabbath, as a temporary liberation for the slave or servant is insufficient. That is why there was the year of jubilee.
“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants… Even land was not to be sold on a permanent basis because of the jubilee year(Lev.25:18ff).
Dear friend, God has laid down parameters for happy, satisfactory and enjoyable human coexistence – if only we discipline our lusts, greed and covetousness!
When we overcome these vices then the Sabbath observance can truly be understood to be holy, conducive for rest and liberating for all of us.
Prayer of the week: Holy Spirit help me to live in the true spirit of the Sabbath. Amen!
Welcome to a new working day and week! Have a blessed working day and week! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.