Sunday, 6 May 2012

This Week: Shabbath

Boker Tov: (Good Morning)
Mark and I are often asked about why the keeping of Sabbath is important to us. And how do you keep Sabbath.
First, what is Sabbath.
Genesis 2: 1-3"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."
In Hebrew, Shabbath (שַׁבָּת ( you can find this on page number 7676 of Strong's Concordance  as šabbāt,) meaning "day of rest".  It derives from the verb shavath (שָׁבַת, Strong's 7673 as šāvat, often shavat), defined as "desist from exertion "rest" or "cease"). The word shavath was first used in the Torah account of the seventh day of in the verse above.  The observing of Sabbath is the fourth Commandment. For Hebrews as well as all who keep the Biblical Sabbath regard it as having been instituted as a "perpetual covenant [for] the people of Israel" (Exodus 31:13-17) as a sign in respect for the day during which God rested after having completed the Creation in six days ( Exodus 20:8-11) We also remember God's deliverance from the Egyptians and their seven-day workweek (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
The desecration of Shabbath was once amoung the crimes that fell under Capital punishment. Why? For like the other commandments, it was a direct violation of His Law, you were putting yourself back into bondage, bowing again to the gods of Egypt.
So we keep Shabbat because it is one of the commandments of G_D. Just as You shall not put any other go before me, honour thy mother and father, thy shall not steal, murder or bear false witness is still enforce, so is the keeping of Shabbat. The Day never changed.
We keep Shabbath to remember the Night G_D freed us with His Strong Hand, freed us from a system that only allowed the body to rest at night in sleep. Every day was a work day, there was no rest.
Notice Genesis 1: 31 "G_D saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the sixth day."
The Creator, when He had finished all His work, He took a step back and beheld all. He smiled and "enjoyed His Creation."
When G_D rested, it doesn't mean He wasn't tired . It meant He smiled with pleasure and enjoyed the trees, the birds, the flowers, the animals, and His greatest joy, Man.
It reminds me of when I finish a piece of needlepoint or sewing. I hold it in my hands and look over the piece, pleased. Smiling, I think it is my best work yet.
I have the same feeling when I set the table for a special occasion. I step back and behold how beautiful the table is. I picture my guest oohing and ahhing. I am at rest, I have eased my work. Soon I shall seat and enjoy the creation with my guest.
When we observe Shabbat, we "enter His rest" We stop our harbour and for twenty-four hours and enjoy G_D's creation. We enjoy good food and good friends. We enjoy G_D.
This is why we delight in Shabbat.
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