I had the amazing opportunity to go to Israel in 1996 with my Mom and, like, 998 other people – we were part of a 1,000 voice choir singing in various historic places around Jerusalem as part of the 3000 anniversary of Jerusalem being named the capital of Israel by King David. NBD. Okay, it was awesome.
One of the minor details that stuck with me was the bank of elevators in our hotel. It was a huge hotel with four towers of rooms, and I think I remember 8 elevators in the main wing. But one elevator was labeled a Shabbat elevator, with a note that indicated it would stop at every floor during Shabbat. Shabbat is the Hebrew word for Sabbath.
What this meant is that during the hours of Sabbath, the elevator would automatically stop for each floor, so that an Orthodox Jew observing Shabbat would not have to push a button, which could be considered work (or the using of electricity could create a tiny spark which is the equivalent of kindling a fire or the electricity could close a circuit as equal to building something), which is not allowed during Shabbat.
Now, I don’t say all this to go into debate about whether or not an elevator should be used. But one reason the elevator stuck in my mind is because the Jewish people remember the command. They observe Sabbath – a ceasing of work, a remembering, a resting.
I was really excited to find out that Aarik Danielsen will be preaching this Sunday on the Sabbath, not the verse from the 10 Commandments, but later on, Exodus 31:12-18.
12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”
18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
Now I want to be honest and say that when I first planned out this series on rest, I did not even think about the Sabbath. But this passage clearly indicates a day of solemn rest that is holy to the Lord.
I know Aarik has put hours of study into preparing for Sunday’s sermon, part of our Set Free series in Karis Church, so I’m not even going to go further with this post. I just wanted you to start thinking about the Sabbath and rest, as I did when I heard about the sermon. I’ll have a follow-up post where I share some things I learned and link to the audio from the sermon.
Praying you have a restful Sunday.
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