2/1/2018 – Rested and Refreshed – Pr. Chuck Adams

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. “ ‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’ ” When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.” – Exodus‬ ‭31:12-18‬ ‭(NIV‬‬)

There have been a number of scriptures, thus far, that God has mentioned are important to Him;  one being the Sabbath day and how we, His people, need to keep it sacred and holy. In Exodus 16, God introduced “the Sabbath” as a day of rest and then in Chapter 20, He made it law as part of the Ten Commandments — “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work and on the seventh day, you do NO work.” Here, even God explained to Moses that even He, while creating the Heavens and the Earth, worked for 6 days and then rested on the seventh day. God made a covenant with the Israelites and told the Israelites that by them recognizing and keeping the Sabbath as Holy, “it will be a sign between God and His people and the covenant between them recognizing God as Holy and as Lord.  Another thing… one key word God also caught me with… “refreshed”. That God, after creating the Heavens and the earth for six days, He rested on the seventh day and “was refreshed”. Now laws like these are often tied to the Mosaic Laws or the “Laws of Moses” and today’s Christian Church, according to the Book of Hebrews and Colossians, do not free us from going to church to worship our Lord and teaching and  fellowshipping with other brother and sister Christians. Christ’s death on the cross did free us from strict Mosaic laws keeping “Shabbat” and not working of any sort on the Sabbath.

Twice already I have visited our homeland of Israel and twice I have experienced “Shabbat” through different eyes. This last time it was almost as if through “Old Testament” eyes. Growing up as a Catholic I used to read and understand that “Sundays” were a day of rest… you know, no work, no homework, no chores around the house… you know… rest. But reading Exodus and experiencing “Shabbat” first hand in Israel through the eyes of Judaism and Jews who only believe in the Old Testament, keeping Holy the Sabbath meant… doing absolutely nothing. Not even as little as pressing a button on an elevator to take you from the hotel first floor to your eighth floor room, which means riding that elevator and stopping on all eight floors on the “Shabbat” elevator . But Christ’s death on the cross and scripture in the New Testament freed us all from all of this. Did it free us from attending church and fellowship and studying God’s word? Absolutely not. Although Christ’s death on the cross freed us from Mosaic Law, it did not free us from Sunday worship and fellowship. So many Christians believe that weekly fellowship is not important. We have the Sunday (only) Christians who you only see on Sundays, the 9-1-1 Christians who only seek God when they need a healing, miracle or blessing in their lives,  the Holiday Christians who you only see on Christmas and Easter, and the seasonal Christians, who we only see off season from their favorite sport like football season. Remaining consistent, weekly fellowshipping and studying God’s word, filling ourselves with God’s word, as God says in Exodus 31:17, may not always be the answer as God intended, even if His Son did free us from old Mosaic “Shabbat” laws. But, to keep Holy and honor the Sabbath Day that God gave us, that God commanded us to is like driving my car through a gas station. It’s a place to fill up and recharge… a place to “refresh” on that one day after six days of labor.

Heavenly Father, thank you for being my weekly recharger and for always being there to refresh and recharge our physical bodies and most importantly, our spiritual beings.

In Jesus Name