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Letting Christ Transform You From The Inside Out

Worship: The Principles of the Sabbath 

'Then Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.' Mark 2:27

God created the Sabbath so that his children (the Israelites) would rest, be nourished by Him, be empowered to stay on His path, and experience abundant life. God used the Sabbath to teach them the practice of "worship".

In the Old Testament, worshipping God as a community was connected to the Sabbath Day. Today, the principle of "taking a Sabbath rest" can be applied to any day of the week, but people usually associate it with the day that they attend church. These principles can also become a "spiritual practice" that becomes part of every day of our lives.

What was the purpose and practice of the Sabbath?

In the Old Testament, God chose the Israelite Nation to be His Children and to be a model to the rest of the world of God's character, showing God as a good, powerful and wise Father. God's ways stood in stark contrast to the ways of the "gods" of the other nations. His creation of the Sabbath was one way he illustrated this contrast. His hope and desire was to help the rest of the nations to also come into a relationship with Him.

The Sabbath was considered a day of REST. It occurred once a week. In the Hebrew mindset, a "day" begins at sundown. Thus, it began at sundown on Friday and lasted until sundown on Saturday. No one was required to work. All preparation of meals, as well as table setting, was done in advance so that the women could also rest.

This practice empowered the Israelites to walk with God on their life's journey. It prevented feelings of loneliness and isolation. It gave them direction and helped them to stay safe from the chaos and decadence that ruled the other nations. It helped them to enjoy life! On the Sabbath, the whole community would gather together and follow a specific pattern that God gave them. Following are the "principles" behind their pattern.

  1. Gather Together - Connect with others - gain energy and inspiration from one another.
  2. Listen - Hear God's Word (The Scriptures) and let it reframe your thinking.
  3. Remember - Think about how God has provided for each other's needs and how He has kept his promises.
  4. Be Grateful - Let your remembrance of God's presence in your lives produce gratitude.
  5. Praise - Speak your gratitude to God by giving thanks in word and song.
  6. Share A Meal Together - enjoy all that God has provided - including food and relationships

The people of Israel would gather together and take time to speak about what God had done for them. They reflected on how he rescued them from Egypt and opened the waters of the Red Sea. They reflected on how he fed them "manna" and provided water for them in the desert, in order that they might survive. Many of the PSALMS show us what this type of reflection looks like. This reflection led them to be grateful and thank God for His faithfulness. This process of remembering, reflecting, and thanking was nurturing to their minds and hearts. It empowered them to be less anxious about their lives and instead, pray to and trust (have faith in) God. Realizing that God has integrity and is faithful led them to deeper TRUST. This trust then led them to continue to follow what God says (in His directives / commandments) and walk with Him throughout their lives during the next week.