Good evening y’all. Today we are studying Leviticus 23.
Here we see God highlight the importance of the Sabbath and the festivals that the israelites are meant to observe.
What really struck me were the commands to obeserve the sabbath wherever they are.
I have always had questions regards the sabbath and how that applies to me as a christian in todays world. I found a good article on this chapter by Ray Stedman. It is a long one but i have extracted the bits regards the sabbath day. You can check out the whole article at www.raystedman.org – Gods Calender
“The feasts of Israel were not mere holidays to be observed on the nearest Monday in order to provide a long weekend. Each was a symbolic occasion or season designed to teach a truth which God wants to impart to his people, to drive home a basic truth which is fundamental to human happiness. That is why they were spaced and timed and regulated, their observance specially appointed and carefully predicted. As we go through them you will be able to see where we are in history right now, where the nation of Israel is in God’s program for it, what has been fulfilled in the past, and what lies yet unfulfilled in the future. And, as we have seen all through this book, things which were literally and historically true of the nation of Israel are also pictures of God’s spiritual program with each one of us today. Every believer in Jesus Christ proceeds through this same order of spiritual development. That is what makes this a most fascinating chapter.
It begins with a reference to the institution of the weekly Sabbath, Verses 1-3:
The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, The appointed feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed feasts, are these. Six days shall work he done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:1-3 RSV)
The weekly sabbath had begun, you remember, at Creation. God worked six days and then he rested on the seventh day. God did no work on the sabbath. This was reinstated and renewed in the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai when God reminded his people that the sabbath was at the heart of all his work.
I often hear Sunday referred to as “the sabbath.” And perhaps you think that is just an old-fashioned word for Sunday. But that is completely wrong. Sunday is never the sabbath, and never was the sabbath! A transference is made of these ideas which is totally unbiblical. The seventh day was Saturday. The first day was Sunday. And Saturday was to be observed as the sabbath, as it still is in Israel today.
Now our friends, the Seventh Day Adventists, and most of them probably are brothers in Christ, feel that Christians still ought to observe the seventh day as God’s day of appointed rest. They tell us that we should be worshipping on Saturday, not on Sunday. In their contention that God has never diminished the importance of the sabbath they are absolutely right. For the point of it was that it was a day of rest, and there was to be no labor done on that day. But, as we have already seen in this book, this was but a shadow, a symbol, and the symbol is never all-important. This observance of a day of rest is a picture of something else that God wants, which is of great significance to him, and when the reality came the shadow was done away with.
In the book of Colossians the Apostle Paul specifically tells us that the observance of a day is one of those shadows which, for the believer, ended at the coming of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). But then what is it that God is after? It does no good to do away with an observance if you don’t find what it is pointing toward and begin to fulfill that. For the reality of the sabbath has always continued. It is given to us, among many other places in Scripture, in Hebrews Chapter 4, where the apostle reminds us that sabbath means “rest,” and that this is a reference to the secret of life. Humans were made to operate out of rest, not out of tension, not out of anxiety, out of pressure, not in a rat race where we are always hounded and harassed and driven and hassled. These are exactly the opposite of what God intended when he made man. We were to operate in activity which proceeds out of rest.
What is that rest? Again Hebrews 4 tells us. In Verse 10 it says, “He who has entered into rest has ceased from his own labors, as God did from his…” (Hebrews 4:10 KJV). That is, on the seventh day of creation, God ceased from all work. He who enters into rest has stopped his own work and is resting on the work of another. So if you learn the principle of operating out of dependence upon God at work in you, and if you don’t try to do it all yourself — don’t feel as if everything depends upon you, don’t stew and fret and aren’t anxious and troubled because you have got to get it done — but instead learn to rest on what God is ready to do in you and through you and around you, and expect him to do it, then you are observing the sabbath as God intended it to be observed.
Rest is at the heart of everything that God does. All these feasts are a form of the sabbath and consist of one sabbath or of several. All this is to indicate that this is the greatest secret of humanity. The indispensable but largely unlearned secret of our humanity is to learn how to operate out of rest. That is what the sabbath is all about. Notice, by the way, how Jesus stresses this idea in the Sermon on the Mount.
A man said to me last week, “You know, I’m always finding that I’ve got a 12-foot ditch to cross and a 10-foot plank. And no matter how I polish that plank it is never long enough! I’m always trying to stretch it to make it work.” Well, the secret of the sabbath is for that very purpose. There is Someone who has a 12-foot plank and who is available to you all the time to cross the chasms which come into your life. That is why God highlights the sabbath at the beginning of this list of feasts”. (Gods Calender, Ray C. Stedman, http://www.raystedman.org/old-testament/leviticus/gods-calendar,)
Thanks for joining today.
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***With God all things are possible***