Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: October 18, 2015
scriptures: Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Exodus 20, Exodus 31:15-17, Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:2-3, 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, Exodus 16, Mark 2:27, Hebrews 4:1
The word sabbath is the Hebrew word “shabbath” (sha-baath) and it means “To cease.”
The Old Testament speaks of different kinds of Sabbaths. There is, of course the 7th day of the week. A day of rest. That is what we know as “The Sabbath Day” – then there is something called the Sabbath Year… and it was the same concept as the Sabbath Day, but it was the 7th year… and every 7th year, the Israelites were commanded to take an entire year off from labor. And then on the seventh year of the seventh set of years, so it would be “every 7th sabbath year” was something called “The Year of Jubilee” which we are going to talk about in the series we are doing in December so I won’t get into it today, but its absolutely incredible. But the point is that God laid out all of these incredible structures to make sure that his people were okay. Because nobody can go and go and go and still maintain sanity. So he said, every seventh day, rest. Every seventh year, really rest. Vacation. Stop everything, and let me show you that even when your world is paused, the world I created keeps producing. God commanded them (Leviticus 25) to not even work the land. Give the land a break, for a whole year.
Now, if you do a little research, even now, studies have shown that the even today, land will produce more if every seven years you allow it to rest. Over the course of the next seven years, you would get more out of your land by letting it rest the seventh, and then working it the next sixth, than you would by working it all seven. God knows what he is doing.
But this is how human minds think… We like to think we have faith, but we don’t like actually relinquishing control as if we truly have faith. So we hear, “take a day off…” or even, “take a year off…” and we think, “That sounds great, but too much would fall apart during that time. If we don’t work the land for an entire year, there will be no harvest, and there will be nothing new to grow.”
Whatever that may look like in our lives… Take a day off…
“yeah, but if I am mid-project, I have to finish this, and then I will rest.”
Take a day off… “Yeah, but its “4 days” this week, so I will make sure to take a day off next week.”
And so we go and we go, until what happens? We start getting sick. We start not functioning at the capacity that we know we are capable of… our work sort of starts to fall apart, our bodies begin to deteriorate, and before long we are FORCED to take a significant period of time off.
Have you ever seen that happen to someone?
Has that ever happened to you?
I obviously, being a pastor, am most familiar with that church world, but i see this happen to pastors ALL THE TIME. A lot of people have no idea that they are going through it, but they have moments when they feel like they are literally dying.
and they end up in the hospital, and nobody can figure out what is wrong with them. And suddenly they are forced to take extended periods of time off, and I can’t help but wonder, in the back of my mind, if those moments are God just getting his days back.
God saying, “if you won’t break, I will make you break. You haven’t taken a day off in 14 weeks, so now you won’t work for 14 days.”
You may say to me, “God wouldn’t do that.” But remember, this day is Holy. This day is set apart. There is more to this day than we think. This is one of the most significant issues in the whole bible. Let me tell you about what God allowed to happen to Israel.
You see, God gave them this command. A day off… and every 7th year, a year off.
They heard the command, take a sabbath. Give the land a sabbath.
But nobody actually does that, right? We don’t rest.
Now, this is incredible.
They plowed the land anyway. On that seventh year, they relied on their own strength, just like we do so well today. And instead of trusting God, they plowed. They worked the land. They gave the land no rest and they took non themselves.
And they did this for 490 years. 490 years went by, and Israel never, once took a Sabbath year as the Lord had commanded. And perhaps after 490 years they thought, “Ok, we are doing just fine.”
But then something happened. Something that the bible makes very clear that God allowed to happen, and we have talked about it a couple of times before briefly, and we won’t get into to much today either… but The Israelites are attacked, and they are captured and put into exile in a place called Babylon.
A place different than all they had ever known.
And do you know how long they were in Exile for? Does anyone know?
70 years they were removed from the land that they refused to let rest, and became slaves to a godless ruler.
They become slaves. While the land enjoyed her sabbath.
For 490 years they did not honor the command to let the land rest every seventh year, but God said “the Sabbath is Holy. It is set apart. Its unavoidable.
The Israelites owed God 70 Sabbath years, and he got them all at once.
Look at what 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, this is talking about the Israelites and how they were attacked, captured and taken into exile.
All the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.
The word “enjoyed” is the Hebrew word “ratsah” (rawt saw) and it actually means “to satisfy a debt.”
Do you see this?
You can’t cheat God out of what is his. You can’t. This is not about grace. This is about Holiness. Can you skip a sabbath day and still be saved? Yes. Of course. But you won’t live a Holy life, and you will live a shorter life than you should. God told us that this covenant will last forever. This must be kept forever, it will go on and on and on forever, because this is Holy. If you want to be Holy, you must keep the Sabbath.