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The Sabbath Blog

The Sabbath Challenge

The Sabbath Challenge
In his online article “Take the Sabbath Challenge,” Dr. Rob Muthiah explains that the core of the fourth commandment is to stop working. “In this different kind of time, the blessings of Sabbath bubble up as we orient ourselves toward God through worship, spend undistracted time with our families and friends, celebrate the beauty of God’s creation by getting outdoors, set aside extra time to pray and read Scripture, and maybe even take a nap!”

For those who are unaccustomed to keeping the seventh day, Muthiah suggests that this may be impossible, especially if Sabbath is something you “add in” to a life directed by “urgency” and the “expectations” driven by our culture. He teaches that we need a different starting point, which we can achieve by viewing the Sabbath as “a precious gift, a rhythm of life set in place by our generous, loving, and gracious God who in six days made the heavens and the earth and then rested on the seventh day.”

While the Sabbath is certainly not an “add-on” to our week, and it most certainly is a gift to humanity by our loving Creator, it is also a commandment. Sometimes the Sabbath is presented as a nifty idea, a health tip, an “ancient practice,” or a stress management concept meant only to make our lives better. There are lots of personal benefits to keeping the seventh day, but the core of true Sabbath keeping is not found in the mere stopping of our regular work. God said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, emphasis added).

The Sabbath is holy, not because people rest on the seventh day, but because God rested. The fourth commandment says God hallowed the Sabbath because “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (verse 11, emphasis added). It’s a sacred day, not because it might have health benefits, but because God sanctified it. We don’t keep the Sabbath to feel good; we keep it because we love God and want to obey His commandments (John 14:15).

When we make the Sabbath a mere experiment to try out like a pair of shoes, we degrade the sacredness of God’s law. The core of Sabbath keeping comes not from testing the fourth commandment to see if we like it or not, but from recognizing that sin is breaking God’s law and leads us to eternal separation from Him.

Someday it will not be “convenient” to keep the Sabbath. The Bible predicts that a beast power will set up a false Sabbath and demand, on pain of death, that everyone worship on a substitute day (see Revelation 13:11–17). This will be the true Sabbath challenge.

Want to learn more? Click here to watch “Bowing to Babylon” with Pastor Doug Batchelor.