To Sabbath or not to Sabbath, that is the question

Today’s Reading:  Exodus 35 and 36

One of my first jobs was as a busboy (kid who clears the table) at a country club.  Somehow I was a favorite busboy of one of the waitresses and she liked for me work the Sunday evening shift with her during the summers.  It was an easy shift 5 PM – 9 PM.  I made $14/night.  They money was good back then. It meant I could buy a record album and have money left over.

DSC_9419Working on Sunday was never a concern in our home.  We had  no qualms about it and we often did house or yard work on Sundays.  While growing up the rule was you had to do all your chores before noon on the weekend.  My mother knew that if it did not get done before noon, we would get distracted and never get the work done.  I think she was right.  I love getting a good early start on my weekends. 

Here in the Netherlands there is a long history of “keeping the Sabbath”.  Nearly all stores are closed on Sundays.  Now a days they do open one Sunday a month.  But until you get used to it, it can be a bit frustrating to realize at 4 PM on Sunday afternoon that there is no where to get bread, milk and sandwich meat for the kid’s school lunches the next day.

But why “keep the Sabbath”?

Exodus 35:1 – 3 NLT

1 Then Moses called together the whole community of Israel and told them, “These are the instructions the Lord has commanded you to follow. 2 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on that day must be put to death. 3 You must not even light a fire in any of your homes on the Sabbath.”

The admonition is stated a few times in the Pentateuch.  The Jews obeyed it religiously – literally.  Vine’s expository says this about the Sabbath

“The idea is not that of relaxation or refreshment, but cessation from activity. The OT regulations were developed and systematized to such an extent that they became a burden upon the people (who otherwise rejoiced in the rest provided) and a byword for absurd extravagance. “

Well, I am of the believe that we are no longer under this admonition.  We are no longer under the law.  Paul wrote the Galatians on this point:

Galatians 4:9 –11 NIV

9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

When Jesus was challenged about the Sabbath, here is his response…

Mark 2:27 NIV

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

So, tomorrow, why not enjoy the day in your local church.  Spend some good time singing and worshipping the Lord.  Enjoy the fellowship of friends and listen to a good sermon.  Do it all out of love for the savior and not obedience to an ancient law.  Do it because God made the day for you and I .  Go and honor the Lord of the Sabbath.

About plimtuna

I am just an average guy trying to find his way along this journey of life. I am definitely middle aged. I am definitely happily married with a wife and two children. Personally, I have a passion for things eternal. Professionally, I have a passion for things that are securely in control.
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2 Responses to To Sabbath or not to Sabbath, that is the question

  1. Isabella says:

    Well said. The Sabbath can be one more burden if we over-load it with obligations and rules. I do believe that we need to rediscover the spirit of the Sabbath – to find time to pause from doing, and find time to be….with ourselves, others and our God. Happy Sunday! 🙂

  2. plimtuna says:


    One thing I did not include in the post was that since we moved to the Netherlands we have come to enjoy the fact that we have no where to go but church and spend time with the family on Sundays. No stores open, so no errands to run.

    It was hard when we first got here, but we really enjoy our day of rest now.


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