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Shabbat is a time to rest. To cease our work and draw near to God. However, despite it being the fourth of God’s Ten Commandments, it is one of the most easily overlooked.
God gave us this time of rest for a reason. To honor Him certainly, but also to mentally, physically, and spiritually recharge.
Join us as we explore God’s commandment of rest and some of the ways we can intentionally enter in…
Commandments and Rest
Through the sacrifice that Jesus paid, we have the blood and the Law is fulfilled. However, this does not mean that there are no requirements for us in our actions, behaviors, and choices. God still desires us to walk in right standing with Him. We still NEED to walk in right standing with Him. And the Ten Commandments He put in place are, in many ways, a part of this…
Certainly, we are not perfect like God. We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. We all make mistakes and fail to honor God’s ways and commandments. This is why God blessed us with His grace, love, mercy, and blood… they are vital for our walk with Him. But just because God covers our sins does not mean that we should only do what we want or that we should ignore His commandments…
God’s ways are higher and better than ours. And when He tells us to do something, or not do something, there is a reason…
For instance, when we look at the Ten Commandments that God gave us, it’s not hard for most of us to see the importance of not committing murder. Yet, with some of the others—like remembering and keeping Shabbat—it’s easy for us to obey them only when it is convenient because we do not understand why they are needed…
But not one of God's commandments is without purpose. None fail to be necessary in building a full and healthy relationship with our God. And keeping Shabbat is no different.
This is why God laid down the pattern of Shabbat Himself…
After God created everything, He rested. And He—Who has called us to be like Him—laid down a commandment to do the same. To rest. To fellowship with our family, friends, and of course, with Him.
In that time of rest, we are renewed. Our focus shifts away from ‘doing.’ And it shifts to fix our sights upon Him…
This is a beautiful thing. And while giving honor to the Lord is a part of it, much of Shabbat is for our good. For personal and Kingdom good.
Still, it is easy for us to ignore Shabbat. To see it as a time when we could be doing other things. When we could be ‘using our time better.’ But none of that is true! It actually is a time of great activity. A time when we shift and realign to the will and pattern of our God. When we renew our physical, spiritual, and emotional states.
When we rediscover our passion for God, His Kingdom, and all He has called us to do…
Shabbat is not legalistic. It is a beautiful time set aside by God. It is an act of love by God who desires only good things for us.
Entering God’s Shabbat
God is key to entering Shabbat because the Lord is our rest. Remember in Matthew 11 when Jesus told all of us who are weary and burdened to come to Him? He specifically said that HE would give us rest!
God gives us rest when we come to Him. And He also gives us a pattern of rest. The very one that He Himself used… of resting on the seventh day after He did six days of amazing work! By giving us that pattern of rest, God not only provides the strength and direction necessary to answer our calling in Him, but He allows us to draw near to Him and find REST that is truly beyond earthly understanding.
We are living in a world where everything is ‘go-go-go.’ Where work and achievement, being busy or seen to be busy, are signs of ‘success.’ But this sort of momentum, when not led by God and tempered with the rest of Shabbat… is not maintainable. Without God leading where and how much work we do and then accepting His direction to rest… burnout is inevitable.
But when God leads us. When we are working on the things God desires us to work on, in the ‘quantities’ that He knows are best for us and His Kingdom. When we walk in His ways and accept His Sabbath rest. Then He is our strength. He is our ability to overcome. He is our portion.
God is key to everything. To every moment.
God gave us Shabbat so that we can rest in Him. So we can remember that might or strength are nothing compared to the Spirit of the Lord. And so we can go forth in our work and call refreshed, restored, and ready for God’s perfect plans!
Yeshua and Shabbat
The heart of God’s Shabbat is to draw near to Him. To abide in His presence. To love on Him and accept the Love He has for us.
But Shabbat is also a time where we walk aligned with God’s heart. Where families and friends honor God and strengthen their relationships with one another and with Him.
This can be expressed through going to Church or a Shabbat service. Or in lighting candles to remind ourselves and others of the precious Light of God. Or in taking communion. Or even in conversations and laughter. There is no ‘one way,’ particularly when we allow God to lead the way…
And it is in God’s leading that we can find another call on Shabbat. One that may not occur every week, but echoes what Yeshua our Messiah did…
Remember when Jesus healed on the Sabbath? He did what God told Him to do, even though those who had turned the Sabbath into legalistic husks of what God made it to be, disagreed. He knew that being God’s Light and helping people are not things that cease with Shabbat. That rest and giving go hand in hand…
Yeshua was not saying that every Shabbat has to be exactly like that one was for Him. He was being obedient to what HE was meant to do DAILY. Shabbat or not.
His example is what we are meant to follow.
Intent, Generosity, and God’s Light
We want the example Yeshua gave to be what we follow. We want the pattern that our Father laid down at creation—of resting on the seventh day—to be at the heart of every Shabbat. We want to be obedient to God’s will.
The rest of God is not sporadic or without thought. God was intentional in creating the pattern. And just as He was intentional in creating it, we are meant to be intentional in observing it.
Not just once. But every Shabbat!
But how can we do that?
Well, some ways we can do this is to put certain things aside and pick others up. This can look different for each person, but some things people set aside or limit during Shabbat may include:
This is not to say that everyone will or should set aside or limit these things on every Shabbat. These are merely examples. What distracts each of us from God’s desired rest will vary, and not every Shabbat is the same; maybe one Shabbat is spent alone with God, maybe another is spent helping a friend, while still another is spent with family. Every Shabbat where God leads our way is precious and purposeful… the key is being intentional.
But how can we be intentional about entering into Shabbat? This varies from person to person, but some things people pick up to be intentional about Shabbat may include:
- Reading the Word
- Listening to Worship Music
- Attending Service
- Spending Time in Prayer
- Taking Communion
- Blasting the Shofar
- Doing Something Generous
- Lighting Shabbat Candles
Not every Shabbat will include all or some of these examples. However, by being intentional. By setting aside our agenda and picking up God’s. The rest that we find will be more than we could imagine!
If YOU would like to bless workers, artisans, and craftspeople in Israel AND enjoy some unique Shabbat-themed articles and food from Israel, then consider the My Olive Tree SHABBAT BOX…
In the box you will receive:
- Jerusalem Stone Shabbat Candle Holder
- Hand-Dipped Candles
- Lace Shabbat Shawl
- Israeli Grown Dates
- Israel Grown Almonds
- Yeladim Children’s Notecards—Exclusive, one-of-a-kind designs by Yeladim’s children
Through this box people in Israel are blessed and we pray that in it you will be blessed too.