And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
We need the Sabbath. I am not primarily talking about a period of down time from our busy lives, although the Sabbath affords that. Our need of the Sabbath is deeper than mere rest. We need the Sabbath for our salvation.
The Sabbath reminds us that there is a God who created all things. Those sacred hours provide the time to turn our attention to His mighty creation. Our world, though marred by sin, still serves as a lesson book about the God we serve.
We see the beauty of His creation from the lowly flower full of intricate details to the lofty mountains that tower to the heavens. In each we see the hand of God. We read in nature’s pages the care and concern He has for us and we find assurance and contentment as we reaffirm each week who it is that controls our lives.
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:28-30
Those who are blessed to be able to spend a part of their Sabbath in nature are rewarded with fresh evidences of God’s redemptive power. He has designed that nature would testify of His power. To those who have ears to hear He speaks words of hope and promise. From the thrilling sunrise to the majestic sunset, God speaks of a time of peace. There is a rest to the children of God that transcends the challenges of life.
And as we fellowship with like believers during a portion of the Sabbath hours, we find an added avenue of strength and encouragement. Each testimony that points us to the goodness of God, each song sung for the glory of God, reinforces us for this Christian journey.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV
The spoken word, aided by the power of the Holy Spirit, turns the attention away from man to the power and glory of Jesus Christ. The truth pierces hearts and brings re-commitments to the cause of God. We hear the voice of God speaking to us through His Word and we are changed in the process.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Happier still are those who so order their lives that the Sabbath is a welcomed event. Happy is the family that finds each member of the family together for worship at the beginning of each Sabbath. This time of singing, prayers and reading of the word is more than a ritual. It is a time of bonding that cannot be replicated in any other way. It is the time when each family member reaffirms their allegiance to the God of creation.
We need every opportunity to develop into the men and women God expects us to be. Those sacred hours, if rightly used, are designed to bring us closer to God. From Sabbath to Sabbath we see God’s love for man and in return, if we allow it, that love will lead us to love Him more. We need the Sabbath.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does “keeping the Sabbath” mean to you?
- Is it possible to keep a day holy if the person is not holy? Why or why not?
- Is it true that the main function of the Sabbath is to come together for worship? Why or why not?
- Is it true that the best way to learn about God is through sermons? Explain your answer.
- What, if anything, can be learned in nature that cannot be learned from a church service?
- Self-reflection question: Is your Sabbath observance more about what you should not do or what you can do?
- What, if anything, makes the Sabbath a burden?
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: The more time you spend in church on Sabbath, the better your Christian experience should be. Explain your answer.
We close these week with some familiar verses from the Book of Isaiah. I believe we still have much to learn about what these words really mean:
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 58:13-14
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!
For online lessons please visit http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/14c/less11.html