In moving here and taking the job of starting, from scratch, this home for children I have found the need to understand more deeply why I believe what I believe and why I follow the rules I follow. Are they rules simply because or are they based on the Bible?
The first of many things I am evaluating is the Sabbath. What do I believe and why? Do I rest on the seventh day because I am a Seventh Day Adventist? Because it’s what I have always done or do I do it because it is what God has asked of me?
This last Sabbath I took some time to search out the one true place for answers, the Bible, the word of God. In my reading I found several answers to what I should do on the seventh day of the week. I decided to read from Exodus, the book that explains God’s commands for us, the Ten Commandments.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; then he rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy” Exodus 20:8-11
So that’s the basic rule, but I kept reading to see what else was said if anything, and this is what I found:
“Work for six days, and rest on the seventh. This will give your ox and your donkey a chance to rest. It will also allow the people of your household, including your slaves and visitors to be refreshed.” Exodus 23:12
Nice, the reason is not just because God rested but He knew I would need a rest from all the normal daily work, and let me tell you here there is lots.
There were still more. This must be something important to God if he is still talking about it several chapters later.
“The Lord then gave these further instructions to Moses: ‘Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath day is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.’”
How wonderful, a weekly reminder to me that I am a chosen daughter of God!
“’Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the Lord considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day forever. It is a permanent sign of my covenant with them. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but he rested on the seventh day and was refreshed.’” Exodus 31:12-17
Wowzers, God wanted to make sure Saturday was kept apart from the rest of the days, therefore he repeated it and used methods to make sure the Israelites also understood the importance of it.
Yet, He’s not done. There are still two more passages to read.
“Six days are set aside for work, but on the Sabbath day you must rest, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest.” Exodus 34:21
“Each week, work for six days only. The seventh day is a day of total rest, a holy day that belongs to the Lord. Anyone who works on that day will die.” Exodus 35:2
So I take from these that I need to say something to those who work for me. I had been afraid to talk with Gabriel about him coming and working on the yard on Sabbath, but now I know I must. I also need to talk with Mary about doing the dishes, cleaning the house and other things. It’s not for me it is for my God. He asks me to make sure my entire household is honoring the day, the time set aside to spend with Him.
I am going to have to work a bit harder to make sure all the dishes are done and the house clean on Fridays and that there is food prepared ahead of time so that no extra work is needed. For those of you not familiar with life here, EVERYTHING is work, from making the rice, to washing the dishes, to taking the cattle out to graze, even cleaning up a simple mess takes extra work. It all takes time and lots of energy. But with a little bit of planning ahead of time that can be taken care of.
I want to take the Sabbath and allow it to be a beautiful day, fill it with worship, community and rest. It isn’t a day to be dreaded but a day to look forward to; we are given a command to rest, to remember the covenant with our Creator. I rejoice in this news and I rejoice in a God who asks to spend a day with me, a mere servant.