Leviticus 23 speaks of ‘servile work’ ( KJV ) as it lists things we should abstain from on Sabbath. ‘Servile’ ? What’s that mean ? The hebrew word there translates as ‘work, labor, to till . . .’ Ok, so what does that mean ? We find that sometimes a ‘word’ in one language or culture does not always have a corresponding ‘word’ in another language or culture. So, we attempt to come as close as we can. Well, they say a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’. Let’s see if we can ‘paint’ a picture ( with less than a 1,000 words ) to get the idea across.
When I was a kid, a really long time ago, I would sometimes go spend a few days on our grandparents’ farm in the spring or summer. PaPaw would come get us up really, really early, like 6:00 in the morning. Nothin’s up at 6:00 in the morning. He would have us get dressed and meet him in the barn. There we would feed the chickens, slop the hogs ( if you don’t know what slop is, don’t ask . . . you don’t want to know . . . we don’t eat the hogs but they have to be fed) throw hay for the cows that were going to be milked, give the horses a little hay and sweet feed . . .and this went on and on and on for hours it seemed like. Finally . . . the work would be done and we – the people – finally got to go back to the house and eat. MaMaw would have a big spread for breakfast . . . biscuits, gravy, eggs, meat, sorghum, sliced tomatoes if she had any, and coffee . . . MaMaw let me have coffee !! Well, anyway . . .
So we’re sittin’ there at the table finally getting to eat after all that work, and then PaPaw declares, ‘hurry up and finish eatin’, we’ve got work to do . . .’ Before I thought, my mouth came open and something came out kinda like – ‘ Work, isn’t that what we just did PaPaw was work ? You mean there’s more work ?’ PaPaw said something profound that helps me today understand some of God’s Word. “Work ? that wasn’t work, son . . . those were chores . . . the work’s in the field’.
Keeping, observing and guarding the Sabbath is a privilege that we, as God’s children get to participate in. And it’s pretty simple. There are some basics mentioned in Scripture ( Exodus, Leviticus, Nehemiah, Luke, and others ) concerning Sabbath, and it’s pretty simple . . . don’t cook, don’t buy or sell, don’t ‘work’, don’t involve in business and yes, don’t light a fire . . . and that would be in the context of working and cooking. Abba doesn’t expect you to freeze, although He does expect you to prepare for the 7th day that is approaching ( wink,, wink, nod, nod ) .
The big deal for us was when we came to the point that we could call ‘His day a delight’ ( Isaiah 58 ) . . . that was the turning point. It then became a matter of the heart and not just ‘do’s and don’t ‘s . Remember, Paul did say ‘first the physical then the spiritual’ ( 1 Cor 15). We have come to understand in Him and His sabbath, there are things that I have to deal with on friday, and things I have to concern myself with on sunday, but with the exception of the ‘chores’, I don’t have to deal with the things of the world today. Today is Shabbat. It’s the Lord’s day. Today is for me and my family and Him and His family . . . pure and simple . . . Yes, Sabbath is a day to share the love of Abba in Yeshua’s Name . . . to give a helping hand, and not turn a blind eye to a need . . . but His ways, and not mine. And yes, Sabbath IS the 7th day . . . always has been and always will be . . . ‘saturday’ you and I would call it . . . since we are still in exile . . . but by any other name it is still His day for His people . . .
Hebrews 4:9 There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest (sabbatismos – a sabbath-keeping) reserved for God’s people,
Isaiah 58:13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 56:3 ” Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.” And let not any eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.”
4 For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant–
5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant–
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
8 The Sovereign LORD declares– he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh . . .
12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Shabbat Shalom –