Sabbath principles

Warning: this post is a little long and, unlike most other long posts, is not in narrative form.  It’s basically copied and pasted from my notes about Sabbath principles.  This is by no means a complete or exhaustive list of Sabbath principles; it is simply where I’m at right now in this process.  I’ve learned a lot, and I feel like I still have a long way to go.

If you want to wade through it, go for it.  The last letter bullet point is the questions I am asking myself and God as I try to go from principles to application.  Finally, the extra words in parentheses most often indicate an expanded definition from the Hebrew or Greek.


  1. Sabbath is miraculous.  It is a time when we step back and let God do what He does.
    1. Exodus 16:23-30- When the Israelites collected extra on any other day, it rotted. When they collected extra for the Sabbath, it was fresh.  God provided for their needs miraculously.
    2. Exodus 31:17- Sabbath is a sign (miracle, mark, token) of relationship.
    3. Leviticus 25:3-7- Sabbath of years was marked by God’s miraculous provision.
    4. What does God need to do in a Sabbath that is miraculous in my life?  What do I think I will be missing by observing Sabbath?
  2. Remembering/marking the Sabbath day is making it sacred or special, somehow unique from other days.  The Exodus instruction is to figure out a way to do the whole of your work on six days so that the seventh looks different.
    1. Exodus 20:8-10- work hard on six days so you don’t work on the seventh.
    2. Is this possible for me?  Is it necessary to have a whole sun-up to sun-down “day” without work?
  3. Sabbath isn’t intended to be an individual thing. 
    1. Exodus 20:10- No one in the household, not even your servants or guest, should conduct their business or responsibility on the Sabbath. 
    2. Leviticus 23:3- Sabbath is a sacred assembly.
    3. Is God calling me to Sabbath with anyone else?
  4. We observe Sabbath because God did first.
    1. Exodus 20:11- God created the world, and did it in six days.
    2. What work do I have that is bigger than that??
  5. Sabbath reflects and gives us time to reflect on relationship with God.
    1. Exodus 31:17- Sabbath is a sign (miracle, mark, token) of relationship.
    2. Exodus 31:16- Doing Sabbath  is a mark of covenant (literally cutting).
    3. Exodus 31:17- God was refreshed (breathed). 
    4. Deuteronomy 5:15- Sabbath is a time to remember God’s work of deliverance.
    5. What does it mean for me to both breathe and be breathed upon? To reflect on my relationship with God and to enjoy the miracle that it is? To remember what I was rescued from, and how God did it with a mighty out-stretched hand?
  6. Doing Sabbath comes with blessings.
    1. Isaiah 58:13-14 (my paraphrase)- If you quit doing your own thing and start calling Sabbath what it is,- a delight and a weighty, meaningful thing, you honor God.  You will also become pliable in His hands, a luxury.  You will live God’s way.
    2. What blessings am I missing by missing Sabbath?

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