How can we well remember the Sabbath to keep it holy while at home?
Sabbath – A Safeguard of Our Relationship With God
The origin of the Sabbath lies in Creation when God rested from His work on the seventh day (Gen 1-3). The Sabbath has significance as a perpetual sign of the everlasting covenant between God and His people in order that they might know who it is that created them (Ex 31-17) and sanctifies them (Ex 31:13; Ezek 20:12), and that they might recognize Him as the Lord their God (Ezek 20:20).
This includes both physical (Ex 23:12) and spiritual rest in God (Matt 11:28). This concept, however, is not supportive of total inactivity. Both the Old and New Testaments invite us to care for the needs and alleviate the sufferings of others, for the Sabbath is a good day for all, particularly the lowly and the oppressed (Ex 23:12; Matt 12:10-13; Mark 2:27; Luke 13:11-17; John 9:1-21).
Time Frame of the Sabbath. Biblical Data: The Sabbath starts at the end of the sixth day of the week and lasts one day, from evening to evening (Gen 1; Mark 1:32). This time coincides with the time of sunset. Wherever a clear delineation of the time of sunset is difficult to ascertain, the Sabbath keeper will begin the Sabbath at the end of the day as marked by the diminishing light.
The Sabbath encompasses our entire relationship with God. It is an indication of God’s action on our behalf in the past, present, and future. The Sabbath protects man’s friendship with God and provides the time essential for the development of that relationship. The Sabbath clarifies the relationship between God and the human family, for it points to God as Creator at a time when human beings would like to usurp God’s position in the universe.
The consequences for forgetting the Sabbath day to keep it holy are serious. It will lead to the distortion and eventual destruction of a person’s relationship with God. His people should engage only in those activities that are directed toward God and their fellowmen and not in those that lean toward self-gratification or self-interest.
“The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds.”–The Desire of Ages, p 207
When the Sabbath is kept, it is a witness to the rest that comes from trusting God alone as our sustainer, as the basis of our salvation, and as the ground of our hope in the future. As such, the Sabbath is a delight because we have entered God’s rest and have accepted the invitation to fellowship with Him.
When God asks us to remember the Sabbath day He does so because He wants us to remember Him.
Our Home and the Sabbath
Home life is the cornerstone of proper Sabbath observance. Only when individuals keep the Sabbath conscientiously in the home and assume their assigned responsibilities as members of the family will the Church as a whole reveal to the world the joys and privileges of God’s holy day.
Two Sacred Institutions–The Home and the Sabbath. “In the beginning” God placed a man and a woman in the Garden of Eden as their home. Also, “in the beginning” God gave to human beings the Sabbath. These two institutions, the home and the Sabbath, belong together. Both are gifts from God. Therefore both are sacred, the latter strengthening and enriching in its unique manner the bond of the former.
Close fellowship is an important element of the home. Close fellowship with other human beings also is an important element of the Sabbath. It binds families closer to God and binds the individual members closer to one another. Viewed from this perspective, the importance of the Sabbath to the home cannot be overestimated.
Preparation for the Sabbath. If the Sabbath is to be observed properly, the entire week should be programmed in such a way that every member will be ready to welcome God’s holy day when it arrives.The way the family approaches the beginning of the Sabbath at sundown on Friday night and the way Friday night is spent will set the stage for receiving the blessings that the Lord has in store for the entire day which follows
Proper Sabbath Dress. Where there are children in the home, on Sabbath morning as the family dresses for church, adults may, by precept and example, teach children that one way to honor God is to appear in His house in clean, representative clothing appropriate to the culture in which they live.
Making the Sabbath a Delight
“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 . . .”
Isaiah 58:13-14 NIV.
Many people have a hard time discovering how to make the Sabbath a delight. As a guide, consider that the Sabbath was intended to be a time for spiritual and physical refreshment; a time to get to know God better and be physically renewed to face another week (Exodus 20:8-11).
Notice the sort of things that Jesus did on Sabbath. Jesus did something on Sabbath in ten recorded incidences.
• Picking grain with the disciples (Matthew 12)
• Eating with one of the chief Pharisees (Luke 14:1)
• Man with crippled hand (Mark 3:1)
• Crippled man by the pool (John 5:2)
• Blind man receives sight (John 9)
• A woman relieved of an 18-year infirmity (Luke 13)
C. Teaching in the synagogue
• Matthew 12:9
• Mark 1:21
• Mark 6:2
• In the tomb (Matthew 27:58-60)
Note: In no place do we find Jesus saying, “It’s been a tough week. Let’s sleep the day away!” There is no indication from the actions of Christ that the day was designed for inactivity. The only time we find Him resting on Sabbath was when He was DEAD.
What are some things that would be good to do on Sabbath? The following suggestions may help: 60 ideas for making the Sabbath a delight.
- Share what the Lord means to you with your own family.
- Do a topical Bible study on a subject that interests you.
- Stream live to the churches that go live via the various social medias platforms.
- Do something for “The least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
- Review your baptismal vows.
- Friday evening: Have sundown worship.
- Visit a Sabbath-keeper you’ve never visited before.
- Read the words to hymns
- Have a special family worship: Have each family member bring an object and tell how it reminds them of God.
- Read a good devotional book and pray.
- Visit someone who is sick. (who is at home)
- Visit someone who might be discouraged or hurting.
- Offer to take the children of a single parent on a nature walk.
- Learn a new Sabbath song.
- Write an “I missed you” post card to everyone you missed at church today.
- Take some home-grown food to someone who might be tight financially, and stay for a brief visit.
- Make a “family tradition” Sabbath meal – something everyone likes, but easy to fix.
- Have a meal with a friend.
- Read or tell Bible stories to your children.
- Invite someone to your home that is not usually asked home with anyone.
- Have a group over, and show slides or videos of things God has made.
- Listen to Christian music.
- Teach values to your children.
- Study a certain thing (animal, flower, culture etc.) that you are not very familiar with.
- Ask children if they have any questions about your religion. Give them time and REALLY listen.
- Spend a thoughtful hour contemplating the life of Christ, especially the final scenes.
- Pray for victory over specific sins in your life
- Review notes or tapes of an evangelistic meeting you really enjoyed.
- Tell someone what brought you to the Lord, or to join the church.
- Share with someone else something you really enjoyed doing on the Sabbath.
- Spend time alone with God.
- Volunteer to tell a mission story or children’s story at your family church.
- Men: Spend some time with a boy who doesn’t have a Father figure. Share Jesus with him after you make friends.
- Read stories in Sabbath School handouts (such as Guide or Little Friend).
- Think of what you would like to ask Jesus when you get to heaven..
- Study the Sabbath School lesson.
- Visit a widow or shut-in.
- Have worship outdoors.
- Write a letter to Jesus.
- Start a Sabbath afternoon Story Hour for children.
- Learn a memory verse.
- Read a portion of Scripture or listen to the Bible on tape.
- Study a particular Bible character.
- Invite someone home that you do not think can return the favor.
- Make a list: What are you thankful for? Give each member of your family a note of writing their appreciations at sundown Friday.
- Start a prayer request list.
- Make written records of answers to prayer. File them, and review periodically.
- Study Church History.
- Read good Christian books.
- Explore a new nature trail.
- Ask the pastor for a name of someone who might appreciate a Bible study or Christian friend.
- Take a meal to a widow or widower.
- Show appreciation to someone that has been a blessing in your life.
- Share an answer to prayer with someone.
- Study a parable that Jesus told.
- Praise the Lord!
- Spend the afternoon in a national forest. Make a list of the things that remind you of God’s love.
- Try to imagine living where there is no sickness, death, or pain.
- Invite someone to attend church at home with you.
- Decide as a family what you plan to do next Sabbath.
MARK 3:4 ….. Is it lawful to do good
on the sabbath days, or to do evil?
to save life, or to kill?
MATTHEW 12:12 …..Wherefore it is
lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
In all these, be in the confines given by the government ministry of health.