Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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A thought inspired by a conversation with Brother Earl Pittman
God was determined that His Old Testament people would honor His Sabbaths. Not only were the Israelites commanded to rest on the Sabbath, but foreigners who sojourned within the borders of the promised Land had to cease from their work on God’s Sabbaths. Even the slaves and animals that people owned were not allowed to work. Indeed, even the land itself was given a Sabbath from being cultivated, every seventh year. God said to Israel, “the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the Lord. You shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard” (Lev. 25:2—4). And God warned the Israelites that if they failed to keep their Sabbaths, and failed to allow the land to keep its Sabbath, then He would send them into captivity so that the Promise Land could at last keep the Sabbath days that they had refused to give it.
This came to pass. After centuries of patient forbearance, God sent the Assyrian army, and then the Babylonian army, to conquer the Israelites and carry them away. When the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar overwhelmed God’s people, we are told in 2Chronicles 36:20—21, that “those who escaped from the sword, he carried away to Babylon, where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia . . . until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths, for as long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath.”
We who live under this New Covenant are also commanded to keep God’s Sabbath, the Sabbath of walking in the Spirit and resting from our own works and ways. And God is just as determined that we will keep this new Sabbath as He was determined that His Old Testament people keep their form of the Sabbath. When the Corinthians failed to keep the Lord’s Sabbath by ceasing from their own ways, Paul told them that because of their failure to walk in the Spirit “many are feeble and sick among you, and quite a few have fallen asleep” (1Cor. 11:30).
God is going to get glory from His people. If we give it to Him willingly by walking in the Spirit and keeping His Sabbath while we are in these mortal bodies, we will be blessed. But if not, God may force us to cease from our own ways in this world by taking us out of this world altogether.
Let’s cease from our own ways and rest in the Spirit. Let’s keep God’s holy Sabbath, and live!