1The Lord told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel:
I have chosen certain times for you to come together and worship me.
3 You have six days when you can do your work, but the seventh day of each week is holy because it belongs to me. No matter where you live, you must rest on the Sabbath and come together for worship. This law will never change.
Passover and the Festival
The Lord said:
4-5 Passover is another time when you must come together to worship me, and it must be celebrated on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month of each year.
6 The Festival of Thin Bread begins on the fifteenth day of that same month; it lasts seven days, and during this time you must honor me by eating bread made without yeast. 7On the first day of this festival you must rest from your work and come together for worship. 8Each day of this festival you must offer sacrifices. Then on the final day you must once again rest from your work and come together for worship.
Offering the First Part
9The Lord told Moses 10to say to the community of Israel:
After you enter the land I am giving you, the first bundle of wheat from each crop must be given to me. So bring it to a priest 11on the day after the Sabbath. He will lift it up in dedication to me, and I will accept you. 12You must also offer a sacrifice to please me. So bring the priest a one-year-old lamb that has nothing wrong with it 13and two kilograms of your finest flour mixed with olive oil. Then he will place these on the bronze altar and send them up in smoke with a smell that pleases me. Together with these, you must bring a liter of wine as a drink offering. 14I am your God, and I forbid you to eat any new grain or anything made from it until you have brought these offerings. This law will never change.
The need for the feasts God appointed in the Old Testament is gone. Jesus has taken their place. Paul tells us, Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16 & 17 NIV) Nevertheless the spirit in which God gave his people festivals, like the Sabbath, should not be ignored.
To get into a ritual, as some still persist in doing, where certain things can’t be done on Sunday, which has been the idea of the Christian Sabbath for centuries, is not the spirit in which the Sabbath was given. God granted his people rest from work. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and has fulfilled the Sabbath law for all believers, but the idea of rest should not be lost. The writer of Hebrews pointed out there was a Sabbath rest for the people of God that had nothing to do with the law—it had to do with resting from our work, especially the work of trying to run our lives and save our souls by our own efforts: For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work just as God did from his. To rest in God is a far greater Sabbath than not going to the office. To rest in God is the Sabbath that should be sought 365 days a year. It is placing everything in his hands and trusting him with your life, your worries, and your soul, and enjoying the peace that inevitably comes once you have truly done so.
I am stressed out over many things, Lord, and I not only work hard with my hands but with my heart and mind and spirit too. I am exhausted. Please help me enter into the kind of Sabbath rest you still offer us, one where I trust you and place everything in your hands so that it is not my anxieties that not rule me but your peace.