Keeping the Sabbath Holy in the Year Ayin Zayin (5777)

By Debra Neybert, Assistant Pastor

“If you turn back your foot from (unnecessary travel on) the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, and the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, not going your own way or engaging in your own pleasure, or speaking your own [idle] words, then you will take pleasure in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the [promised] heritage of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13-14 AMP

The Lord has given us many provisions for a blessed and successful journey….but occasionally we overlook the very best!

Genesis 2:2 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”  Have you ever considered the first full day Adam and Eve ever experienced was on a Sabbath?  Amazing and interesting!  They began life from a place of REST!

The Hebrew word translated “rested” in the verse above is the word “shabat” meaning “to cease or stop.” God didn’t cease from work because He was exhausted, rather He was setting an example so we could enjoy the benefits of rest, “ceasing from our own works.”

“The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” (Isaiah 20:48)

Jesus clarified what this special day was all about when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27).  We must also consider that it will be observed for all Eternity according to Isaiah 66:22-23 and Exodus 31:17. Perhaps we need to begin to shift into an eternal perspective now!

Let’s consider the passage above. What does it mean to “turn back your foot?” It means to stop what you have been doing and return from where you came from. The Hebrew word  translated  “turn  away”  is  related  to  the  Hebrew  word  “return.”  This is also God’s word for repentance. So we have a choice. Will we cease from our works, (what we typically do day to day), and turn to His presence on the Sabbath?

We are to call the Sabbath a delight, the Hebrew word translated “delight,” found in this passage means “exquisite delight,” God is saying the Sabbath is meant to be a beautiful, elegant, lovely, and splendid experience for us! This comes from resting in Him, ceasing from work and work related transactions (speaking idle words), which in Hebrew actually means, “the speaking of an affair, business or occupation.

Are you ready to ride on the high places?  Participating in Sabbath will give us the opportunity to be lifted above our enemies and established upon a Rock!  Are we not seated in Heavenly places?

The Lord also desires to feed us with the heritage (promises) of Jacob our father, which includes all the blessings of Covenant and all the abundant produce of the Promised Land; part of that provision is seeing our enemies become our bread…especially in this new season.

When we honor Sabbath, we will find pleasure or joy in the Lord, and the joy of the Lord is our strength!  This new year of Ayin Zayin (עֹז) spells the Hebrew word “oz” which means strength, might and power!  So from a place of rest, we will go from strength to strength and Glory to Glory and do exploits for His Kingdom!

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