Pondering the Sabbath: from an Old Testament Junkie


For months now, I’ve been meditating on the subject of the Sabbath. I’ve mulled it over on the days I set aside to keep the Sabbath. I didn’t set hard rules for my practice, because I wasn’t sure what they were. I sensed the grace to wing it.

I’ve read some books (and chapters of books) on the Sabbath but I found myself poking around in my Bible, seeing what I might find in the holy words.

I am an Old Testament junkie. I suppose that is why one of my favorite books in the New Testament is the book of Hebrews. It was written to a people very connected to their ancient roots. Over the years, I have found myself searching its treasures over and over again. Its words are highlighted and underlined, memorized. 

Sometimes I read God’s Word and it seems familiar, reassuring. It bolsters my faith. Sometime it stirs me. But every once in a while, it opens me up truth in such a way that I am undone.

That’s what happened when I was reading Hebrews 4 for the umpteenth time. I had an epiphany. This is what came to me:

Sabbath is not simply a day. It is a way of life.

"So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his." (Hebrews 4:9-10, ESV)

The writer of Hebrews was encouraging the early Christians in a time of great persecution, a time of soul searching-- even doubt. The writer reminded them Sabbath rest had come to them by way of faith in Jesus Christ. 

Were they going to turn back like their ancestors who didn't enter the Promised Land because of unbelief? Would they find rest in the promise fulfilled in Christ Jesus?

Salvation is the ultimate Sabbath.

Sabbath rest was the consummation of creation and Sabbath rest is the consummation of God’s plan for our redemption. 

We live the Sabbath when we live in light of our salvation, when realize the door to eternal life was opened to us through the cross.

Even in the face of physical death, we rest in peace.

In light of this truth, we can live with courage, hope, and confidence. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we enter his rest. We live the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a day, but by God’s grace, it is so much more. It is a way of life on this side of the cross. 

Maybe this is old news to you? There is something about this revelation that is so freeing to me, so life-giving. It makes this Old Testament junkie want to jump up and high five somebody. 

Do you have your favorite places to land in God's Word? I would love to know where you find yourself digging into to the "greatest story ever told?"



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