Sabbath Rest/Sabbath Peace: A True Story

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One Friday, the Germans took the Rabbi of Dambrowe, Hayyim Rubin and twenty other Jewish men to the local cemetery.  There, they were then ordered to dig their own graves.  The Nazis did not seem to be in a hurry, and as evening began to fall, the Jews still standing in the graves, were able to welcome the “Sabbath Queen” (celebrate Shabbat).  The rabbi, gave a greeting to the other Jews, with the traditional ‘Good Sabbath.’  This was done as if it were any other Sabbath evening.  He then recited the prayers, and taught a lesson from the Bible.  As he taught, he was overcome with religious passion, and started to sing.  The other men followed the example of Rabbi Rubin, and began to sing and dance.  They were celebrating the Sabbath, as if the Germans, with their machine-guns ready, were not there.

This is the power of a day of rest.  A rest not only from our weekly toil, but from the stresses of life, and even the fears of death.  Sabbath was established for our good.  It is a time to recharge, and reflect on the things that really matter.  It is not the consumerism, or “keeping up with the Jones” that matter, but our relationship with our Creator.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God (Exodus 20).”  God rested, as an example to us.  God, the Omnipotent One has no need for rest.  He knew in His wisdom, that we need the time to recover from the concerns of the world.  Jesus made this clear in Mark chapter 2, “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (vs 27).”

Can we find the rest and freedom offered to us by God?  Are we filling the day of rest with labour?  Shall we too welcome the Sabbath Queen?

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Shabbat Shalom

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As it is Shabbat it seemed a good time to reflect on Brother John Onelum’s message on the topic of Sabbath rest from last week.  John noted the need for rest, and how God in His wisdom and plan worked this into our week.  God even gave us the example, when He rested on the seventh day after the creation.

God set aside the Sabbath that we may recharge, but it was also that we might trust in Him. It would not be by our labours, but through His gifts that we might have life and blessing.  In John’s words, ” God equaled the maths.”  We might not make ends in six days, but probably not in seven either.  We trust in Him to provide, to make up for the shortfall.

The people of Jerusalem had failed to heed that lesson. In Nehemiah 13, the people had taken to  “treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day (verse 15).”  They were trying to make up the deficit themselves.  What they did was separate themselves from the fount of all, blessings. Nehemiah notes that he was forced to testify against them.

Do we trust in God?  Are we putting our hopes in our own efforts?  Or are we willing to trust in the Lord of the Sabbath to give us our Sabbath’s rest?

Shabbat Shalom.

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