Saturday, November 15, 2008

Biblical principles regarding the Sabbath

Today I was thinking about Sabbath rest. We are studying the Life of Moses in BSF and right now we are on the 10 commandments. There are different forms of the Sabbath in the Old Testament, but they are closely related. The verses below apply to my next post – I wanted my post on “Fallow Ground” to be smaller, so I decided to post verses in a separate location.
A smattering of references to the practice of Sabbath in the OT:

Exodus 16:23 – “Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD.”
Exodus 20:8,10, – “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work…, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Exodus 23:10-11 – “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused.”

Leviticus 25:4-5 – “But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.”

Leviticus 25 also addresses the “Year of Jubilee” (my favorite!) – where after seven Sabbath years (49yrs), the following (50th) year is an entire year set aside to honor God. In this year, everyone returns home to the family property (which may have been sold away, but now all property is redeemed to its original owner), slaves are freed (redeemed to their families), debts are repaid or forgiven; everyone is placed on equal footing again. It is a year of celebration for the goodness of God!!

Later in the OT, the exile of the Israelites into Babylon is partly in response to their non-observance of the Sabbath. Scripture says that during the 70 years the Israelites were exiled, the land was being redeemed and having its Sabbath rest. (2 Chron 36:21)
Through Isaiah, the Lord blessed those who kept the Sabbath: “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." (Is 58:13-14)

For more bible verses on the Sabbath, check out and search on "Sabbath"