The Sabbath and Family Time
Throughout the week, the kids are running around and the parents are tending to business. People are going “to and fro” in pursuit of various activities. Friday night is a great way to get the family together and have some time focusing on God. This is a time to slow everything down. In linguistics, the root word for Shabbat in Hebrew is sa and bat, which means “the heart ceases.” This is a day where our hearts are supposed to slow down.
When we look at the Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20, we find that the members of our family are supposed to have this special freedom to rest as well. It is a time for us to come together and honor God as a family unit.
There is a short ceremony called an Erev Shabbat ceremony. It literally means “the evening of the Sabbath.” In this ceremony, you spend time blessing your children, spouse, and enter into God’s Sabbath rest. Too many times, we curse our children in America. The Jewish people have more Nobel peace prize winners than any other people on earth. Why is this? Could it be because they bless their children every Sabbath? They take the time to rest. They honor what they know. Here is a link to a sample Erev Shabbat Service: https://kellymcdonaldjr.com/erev-shabbat-ceremony/
This Erev Shabbat service is an example. Create your own family tradition that brings the family together. Another way to spruce up Friday night is to make it the best meal of the week. This gives us just another reason to look forward to this day.
God gave us this day to slow down and enjoy His blessings in our lives. Some blessings are spiritual, some are material, and some are mental or emotional. A deep revelation from God is a spiritual breakthrough. A passing score on a test is material, but it also lifts mental and emotional stress off of us. The Sabbath is a time of reflection on the blessings we received from our Creator in the past week.
You could spend some time with your family reflecting on the blessings of God in your life. Think about how He came through for you this week and share it with one another. One problem in our world is that we do not spend enough time in effective one-on-one communication. So many things are done through email, facebook, texting, and even phone calls. Use this time to sit down and talk to each other face to face.
Another idea is to get together and have a family Bible study or prayer time. Some people even bring in the Sabbath by worshipping together! In Exodus 31:16, the Lord said, “The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.” The Hebrew word for celebrate is shamar, and it means to guard, protect, or celebrate. One of the ways we guard our minds from wandering away from God on the Sabbath is to celebrate Him! Satan the devil will send all sorts of things your way to distract you from the Sabbath—anxious thoughts about situations in your life, calls from your job, and attitudes. When we celebrate, we are so focused on Him that those things are drowned out! They become less important.
Wouldn’t it be nice to spend more time with your family? These are just some sample ways to help bring the family together on the Sabbath. The family unit was given to us by God to teach us more about Him; let’s bring in this special day as one while we affirm our oneness with Him!
Kelly McDonald, Jr.