Sabbath Made For Man
In these uncertain days, the Sabbath is becoming more meaningful as time goes by. With so much of “the world” to deal with for six days, the Sabbath beckons as a needed respite.
The Sabbath has always been a special delight. It is a day that God set aside for us and we recognize His hand in that day. However, with all the best intentions, under calm social order, the Sabbath can become routine and possibly more a day of physical rest than spiritual rejuvenation. On the other hand, with six days of emotionally jarring world conditions, we can carry our worldly worries into the Sabbath.
Jesus Christ said plainly that, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The intent of Christ’s remarks is clarified by Ezekiel. “… hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:20). This is a reinforcement we need regularly.
An aspect of human life is the proclivity for our minds to be influenced – either intentionally or unintentionally – by the requirements of living. We must engage the world for six days in order to sustain ourselves. Satan’s fast paced, distracting world leaves us little room to fully contemplate God’s role in our lives on a daily basis. This is just an acknowledgement of reality.
God’s law acknowledges unintentional sin. If someone committed an unintentional sin under the Old Covenant, the whole congregation became involved and the priest had to make atonement through a burnt offering (Numbers 15:22-29). No doubt this impressed upon them all to be more mindful and not be negligent of all that God had commanded them. On the other hand, presumptuous sin carried a heavy penalty (verses 30-31).
Following immediately after this instruction is the record of a Sabbath violation — an example of profaning the Sabbath. A person gathering sticks on the Sabbath day was to be put to death. We are not told why he was gathering sticks. Did he get too busy on the previous six days to gather in extra wood for cooking and warming that he felt justified to do it on the Sabbath? Was he so familiar with the Sabbath routine that he just didn’t think much about gathering sticks? We don’t know. But what we do know is God’s attitude toward violating His Sabbath commandment (Numbers 15:32-36).
A further declaration by Christ was, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).
If the Sabbath was made for man and Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath, then clearly there is a tight connection to which we need to pay attention. The Sabbath is given to us to help build and cement our relationship to our Father through Jesus Christ.
We need the spiritual rejuvenation of the Sabbath very much in these turbulent times. The Sabbath is intended as a sign for us to keep pointed toward the One who sanctifies us (Ezekiel 20:12). We need the constant reinforcing of, “… that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:20).