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The Sabbath - Shabbat

“This is a sign that I sanctify you.” – God

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And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Genesis 1:2-3
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.
Leviticus 23:3

Appointed Time: The Sabbath - Shabbat
Significance: The fourth of the Ten Commandments. A Holy day; holy to us and for us on our behalf. A day of remembrance of creation and freedom from Egyptian slavery. Shabbat is a sign between God and man, a sign of our sanctification and creation (Gen. 2:3; Exod. 20:8; Exod. 31:13-14; Deut. 5:12-15)
Observance: You have a special meal with family and friends. It’s a weekly “reboot” and a day of solemn rest so no ordinary work is done. It’s a day for refreshing
Length: 24 hours, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset

Shabbat Simplified

Establishing a weekly cycle of the blessing and holiness that is keeping the weekly Sabbath in your life, home, and family is foundational for your blessing and success.
Shabbat, the Sabbath, is a family affair. We tell people all the time that if every American Christian family would do Shabbat, it would singlehandedly change our country. Here’s the practical breakdown of what I mean:

● You’re having dinner as a family around the table once a week - every week
Apparently this is more of a big deal than I had realized. When I teach Shabbat to people, that is the most novel of ideas to them: regularly scheduled family dinners around the table. Since the beginning of our little family, we have had dinner at the table Monday through Friday consistently. So having dinner as a family around the table “once a week - every week” wasn’t much of a stretch for us. Since it apparently is for many, this alone is going to change your family dynamic for the better.

● Mom (or the lady of the house) lights the Shabbat candles and ushers in the Sabbath rest / peace: Shabbat shalom
This first step sets the tone for the evening. If families aren’t accustomed to eating dinner around the table, are the children accustomed to seeing and hearing mom pray blessing and peace over them and their house?

● Dad blesses the children
The dad is now functioning as the High Priest of his home. By modeling Jesus in blessing his children, both mom and the children are being blessed, even if they don’t realize it. Think of how “atmosphere changing” this is to the home.

● Dad and the children bless mom from Proverbs 31
This is huge. Now the children see and hear dad not only affirm his wife and their mother, they also see dad humbling himself before the entire family and declaring 17 scriptural verses over mom as he lays his hands on her. The children, prompted by their father, now lay hands on their mother as they declare four verses over her. How would you like that, moms?

● Dad blesses Israel
Putting things into perspective by blessing God’s Land and His people, a people that you’ve been grafted into, as a family is putting things into proper alignment. This is something you want your children to know and understand.

● Dad leads the family in communion
This is the biggest thing. I’m amazed at how many dads have never led their families in communion in the privacy of their own home. The results of this are life altering if you do and if you don’t. This is Priesthood, men.

Shabbat is a family affair

Here are some ways we can enjoy Shabbat as families, communities or as individuals and couples:

  • Go on a drive together and take a picnic lunch
  • Kick a soccer ball around or fly a kite
  • Read a book, the Torah portions, and/or the Word alone or together
  • Playing games, arts and crafts or puzzles are a great way to spend the day
  • Go on a hike or walk
  • Take a bike ride
  • Skype family or friends
  • Go to the beach, lake or river
  • Fishing is a great time with the Lord
  • Take a nap, but most definitely,
  • Enjoy Father God and His blessings!

Jesus said that Shabbat was made for man, not man for Shabbat. It serves me, I don’t serve it.
We keep Shabbat out of obedience, not out of legalistic ritual.
Shabbat is life. Covenant life. And covenant life is freedom not bondage.
So, remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy.

Allan R. Aguirre, "The Sabbath - Shabbat,” from The Feasts Unlocked