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The Sabbath Blog

So Much More

So Much More
Many see the Bible Sabbath as a purely religious institution that has irrelevant rules and regulations for people today. It’s often perceived as nothing more than a tradition of overly pious, church-going saints—one that must be endured in order to impress other believers and to alleviate God’s arbitrary wrath against humanity. Sabbath keeping, they say, is a heavenly requirement with little earthly or practical value.

But is this how the Bible presents the Sabbath?

In his article, “The Sabbath: An Ancient Vehicle for Social Progress,” Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz presents the Sabbath as “the great adjuster of temporal and intangible time.” He shares that we “live in an oppressive age where there are few potential breaks from the enormous demands of surviving in our rapid-paced global economy.” More is demanded of workers, animals can be abused, the land mistreated, and leisure time for reflection is nearly eliminated.

In the context of what he calls a “sick society,” Dr. Yanklowitz compares the Sabbath to labor laws because it requires workers to have one day in seven off. The Sabbath is also about animal welfare because animals are also supposed to rest one day a week. It’s about the environment. And it’s about caring for a person’s overall well-being since Sabbath gives us time to focus on something else.

All these social benefits are true. Sabbath-keeping lifts individuals, families, communities, and nations to higher levels of health and well-being. But it is so much more! Secular sociologists and atheistic anthropologists often recognize the social benefits of the Sabbath, but God’s fourth commandment raises our sites to loftier heights.

Sabbath draws us back to our loving Creator. It teaches us that we were made in the image of a compassionate God who does not invent irrelevant rules merely to extract good deeds from humanity. Sabbath was presented as a gift so people could connect with a Maker deeply interested in them. Jesus succinctly stated, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

Anything but a boring tradition, the Sabbath certainly will protect employees from being overworked, animals from being abused, the environment from being exploited, and individuals from suffering burnout. But the Sabbath is so much more—because it guides us into the arms of a loving heavenly Father.

Check out this Bible study, A Love that Transforms, which gives a broader foundation for following God’s commands.