Friday, July 26, 2013

Does God Keep the Sabbath?

If you were to ask me what I like to do the most, I would answer ‘nothing.’ Even though I am retired, I am busier than I want to be on most days.  I am happy when everything on my ‘to-do’ list is done, and I have “nothing” to do. I enjoy “nothing” more than anything. But, then again, is there really any such thing! Aren't we always working on things, like our character, or our relationships, or on things with God?

One time, after Jesus healed a lame man on the Sabbath and told him to pick up his bed, the Pharisees were so upset with Jesus, they wanted to kill Him. Instead of seeing God at work, they saw a man ‘working’ on the Sabbath. When the recently restored man was asked to explain himself, he told them it was Jesus who had given the unlawful order to “work” on the Sabbath.

When the angry Pharisees approached Jesus, He revealed His Father's work ethic: “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17).  Apparently, no one imagined God might not keep the Sabbath. Or, in our vernacular, never take a day off!  Thank God!  After all, if I am His work, (Eph. 2:10), I’d hate to think He might be on sabbatical when I call.


  1. Greg,

    The Sabbath seems to be a "deal-breaker" for many, a devisive subject that few can agree upon regarding particulars. Your article did, however, help to reroute the most appropriate question to ask in order to get the answer (or truth) the helps to set us free, indeed: what does (or did) the Sabbath mean for God?

    For me, the summary of all of the Scriptural teaching about the Sabbath is that for man it is a "freedom-structure" the enables us to keep God at the top of our priorities. It also serves to keep others in the right place--just beneath God in the same list of what is important. So we meet together as often as we do. For God, though, I think He may consider the Sabbath as a span of time He sets aside for us personally for fellowship. Each of us is unique in our expressions of worship and devotion to our God. And as long as we keep those expressions within the structural guidelines He has set then He takes delight in our time invested with each other (He with us and we with Him).

    So, I guess you might say that in one sense--as you put it--God does not need "keep" a Sabbath." But in another sense, every opportunity we give Him for fellowship is a Sabbath to Him.

    And we find rest...


  2. Hi Stan
    I knew my post has a limited view of a complex subject. But to me the Sabbath is/was a shadow of the final rest that is spoken of by the writer of Hebrews as a Sabbath rest. "let us fear lest we fall short of the rest of God...let us be diligent to enter that rest."

    "So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality” (Col 2:16-17 NLT)