I received a question from a reader named Valerie today, and thought some of you might be wondering the same thing. She wrote:
I learned about your book “Rest” through DearReader.com, so I get to read a
little bit from the beginning all this week. I am wondering why you didn’t try a
Saturday sabbath since God set the seventh day apart and not the first day. (My
husband and I are also making a point of following the ever-ignored commandment
to obey the Sabbath, but we’re doing it on Saturday like He says to.) I’m just
curious! And thanks for your time! We’re looking forward to getting the book
when it is released.
I really appreciated Valerie’s question, and she’s not the first to ask it. The Bible says that the Sabbath should be on “the seventh day.” It never says “Saturday.” Why? because the calendar we use today was not even invented when God first instituted the Sabbath. I go into much more depth on this in my book, explaining how various calendars in the ancient world eventually evolved into the one we use today. and in fact, Saturday was at one time the first day of the week.
I choose to celebrate Sabbath as a Christian on Sunday because I see it as a commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, which happened on the first day of the week (again, admittedly, under a different calendar than we use now.)
It’s easy to focus on the question of “which day” but ignore the question of “why?” If you don’t practice Sabbath at all, in fact, live at a crazy pace, which would you say would be your first step toward discovering all the joys of Sabbath: 1. having to do it on a certain day or 2. admitting that the pace of your life is spiritually damaging, and that you need to rest. I really think Sabbath, at first, is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s a journey.
One of the points of my book is that Sabbath is a gift. I think Jesus set us free from legalism. As far as “doing what God says,” God also said that on Sabbath, you should not light a fire. Do you use electricity, cook or drive a car on Sabbath? Those can technically be considered “lighting a fire.” (and are by many orthodox Jews). Many people I know choose to keep certain aspects of the Old Testament Sabbath, but ignore others. We have a lot of freedom to do just that.
I’m going to be answering questions about Rest in two radio interviews this week. The first is this afternoon on Moody radio’s “Prime Time Chicago” show. You can listen it at www.wmbi.fm, or at 90.1 FM in Chicago.
Tomorrow (Wed.) you can listen to an interview on the Author’s Corner show on KNEO in Missouri. It will be broadcast at 1 p.m. CST on www.kneo.org, and archived for the rest of the week.