YHWH has directed His people to obey the Sabbath and keep it holy. You shall not work in it. He set the example during creation when He rested on the 7th day. He did not need rest. He rested to set the example and pattern He intended for us.
8“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Many act as if YHWH has changed His mind regarding Sabbath because our culture has changed and moved away from His instruction such that it is now considered normal and acceptable to work and have businesses open 7 days a week. YHWH has not changed His mind. His instruction to keep the Sabbath is still relevant today.
Another trap we should be careful to avoid is one that the Pharisees fell into. They made a list of rules and expectations in a legalistic way to define what was and was not work and could or could not be done on the Sabbath. They also took Sabbath so legally as to disregard other commands YHWH provided. Some excerpts from scripture below document some important teaching that Yeshua went out of His way to demonstrate about healing on the Sabbath and about times when there are more important concerns such as David’s men who needed to eat and ate the consecrated bread that was only for the priests.
We can not simply put a strict legal formula around obeying our Father, whether regarding Sabbath or other instructions. Sometimes instructions conflict in certain circumstances or there are competing priorities that both may honor the Father, as in resting on Sabbath or helping/healing someone in need.
In the example of healing on the Sabbath, Yeshua points out the hypocrisy that all would stop and help an animal out of a ditch on Sabbath, so why would you not heal someone on the Sabbath… to the glory of YHWH?
23And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28“So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
1It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. 2And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. 5And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” 6And they could make no reply to this.
8“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. 10And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. 11And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12“How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
We do well to respect and honor the instructions of the Lord regarding Sabbath. Take care so as not to always come up with “good excuses” to be busy on Sabbath, even if doing good. Most of that can be planned for other days if we try. However, if the opportunity to do good and glorify our Father comes before us, such as healing or helping others, and it happens to be Sabbath… avoid being too legalistic. We should reflect in our lives His compassion and lovingkindness in our response to those in need around us.
Remember that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. It is for our benefit to rest on the 7th day and keep it holy, not for YHWH’s benefit.
As a quick sidebar… Sabbath is the seventh day, which is Saturday, not Sunday. Man made that change to move away from God’s instruction. because man changed the calendar, it is even more confusing now because God created the days to be marked by sundown rather than an arbitrary numerical indication we are now so familiar with. Sabbath starts on what is now our Friday night at sundown and continues through Saturday night at sundown. This makes for an interesting study of the “Hebrew calendar” you can make. Consider Psalm119 Ministries for reference.
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Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.