Sabbath Meditation #7 – Living By Faith

Sabbath Meditation #7 – Living By Faith

by Kelly McDonald, Jr.

“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest: in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21).

“…the righteous shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17).

Of all the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath is the chief commandment that governs our time. It is so important that all of our weekly activities are gauged by when the Sabbath starts and when it ends. Truly the Sabbath requires that we live by faith.

In Exodus 34:21, God explained that we are to rest on the Sabbath in plowing and harvest. These are two very different seasons, so this is an interesting instruction. For a farmer, the plowing season is a slower season whereas harvest is the busiest time. While most people today are not farmers, there are still lessons we can learn from this verse; we each experience busier and slower times in life. We want to avoid certain temptations that are present in both.

During a slow season of work, the human mind might be tempted to think: “Well, I didn’t do a lot of work this week, so I feel physically rested. I guess its ok to do a little work on Sabbath.” In Exodus, God is clearly saying – “NO! – don’t do that!”

Harvest time presents obstacles. When a crop is ripe for ingathering, there seems to be only so much time to gather it in. The crop can get exposed to bad weather, animals, or other factors. During busier times of work, the human mind might think: “I only have so many days to get the harvest in – I better get out there and work all seven days of the week.” In Exodus, God is saying – “NO! – don’t do that!”

What is the ultimate lesson to be learned from His instruction? God wants us to trust Him and walk by faith. During slower times of work when we might already feel physically rested, do we trust that the Sabbath will still have the physical and spiritual refreshing from God that we need? In busier seasons, do we trust that God will protect our harvest (physically and/or figuratively) while we continue to honor Him?

As I have honored the Sabbath over the years, I have seen this dynamic happen. Certain Fridays in the year, all sorts of work and problems crop up before Sabbath starts. I have learned to let God work those things out. After all, every bit of labor and work (mental and physical) we deem important will still be there for us after the Sabbath is over. All the work we deem important is never more important than the Words of God.

When life seems slower, do not neglect the full observance of the Sabbath. When life is extremely busy, do not neglect to rest on the Sabbath in the Biblically prescribed way.

If we obey Him, then by faith He will work the rest out.

“…the righteous shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17).


Kelly McDonald, Jr

BSA President,

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