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What Keeping God’s Sabbath Means to Me

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What Keeping God’s Sabbath Means to Me

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The Sabbath marks the end of the week and of a busy schedule. It is a time for me to get together with my friends and brethren in the Church and learn more about God. It is a day to refocus on what really matters by studying God’s Word without the daily distractions of work and school. I could keep going and talk about what I think the Sabbath is about and why it’s so special to me, but I think it’s good to also look in the Scriptures and see what God says about the Sabbath.

Of course, without God, there wouldn’t be a Sabbath to begin with. Genesis 2:2-3 Genesis 2:2-3 [2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. [3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
American King James Version×
says: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” The Sabbath is God’s, and He takes it seriously because He created it (Exodus 20:10 Exodus 20:10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
American King James Version×
). He expects His people to keep it holy and not profane it.

Sometimes you have to give something up if it interferes with God’s Holy Day. This is what I’ve had to do in my life. Something I’ve always wanted to do is join marching band. As you can probably guess, most of the practices and performances are on Friday night or Saturday, so I’ve never had the opportunity to join it. A big blessing in my life, though, is my current band director. I’ve been in band for seven years, and through all the years, she has bent over backwards to make sure dress rehearsals aren’t on Friday nights. Even for the Christmas concert, which my sister and I don’t participate in, she picks out some winter songs so we can have something to play for the practices. Although I don’t get to be in marching band, God blesses us with an equally sweet alternative—an amazing director. The blessings will come when you choose God’s way and keep His Sabbath day (Deuteronomy 30:19 Deuteronomy 30:19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
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).

Throughout the Bible people keep the Sabbath. It’s clear in the stories that keeping the Sabbath isn’t always easy. The Israelites had a few problems with it. God clearly instructed them not to go out to gather manna on the seventh day. But some people still tried to go out, and this made God upset. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day’” (Exodus 16:28-29 Exodus 16:28-29 [28] And the LORD said to Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws? [29] See, for that the LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
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).

We all have weak moments in keeping the Sabbath. Something I struggle with is social media. Sometimes I’ll get on my phone and scroll through Instagram for a couple hours before I realize that I spent my Friday night doing things of my own pleasure rather than God’s. I have to be aware of this fact and put the phone down. His Word says, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight . . . not doing your own ways . . . then you shall delight yourself in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13-14 Isaiah 58:13-14 [13] If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: [14] Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
American King James Version×
).

We can all use a reminder of what God expects from us on the Sabbath and what He thinks when we break it. Seeing others’ examples in the Bible can help us straighten our compasses and fully honor God by keeping His Holy Day. Whether you read the Old Testament or the New, people throughout the Bible keep God’s day of rest. It’s always relevant. It isn’t something you can push to the side and treat like any other day. When we improve the way we keep the Sabbath, we gain a closer relationship with God, and the worldly things we give up suddenly don’t seem so important.