How to Keep the Sabbath

Many of us have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be. God never intended for the Sabbath to be difficult or confusing – that defeats His whole purpose for creating it.

The Ten Commandments are listed twice in Scripture, once in Exodus 20 and once in Deuteronomy 5. Interestingly, two different words are used to begin the Sabbath commandment:

  1. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8)
  2. “Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Deuteronomy 5:12)

The Hebrew word used in Exodus is zakar, Strong’s #2142, and properly means to remember. The Hebrew word used in Deuteronomy (as well as Exodus 31:13-14, Leviticus 19:3 and Isaiah 56:4,6) is shamar, Strong’s #8104, which actually means to guard or protect. So, from these lists of the Ten Commandments, here are two basic instructions for how to keep the Sabbath:

  1. Remember to do it. Don’t forget, and don’t let it slip up on you. Look forward to it in anticipation.
  2. Guard the day. Protect it, and set it apart from the other days of the week. Being set apart is one of the primary meanings of the word “holy.”

What can you do to keep the Sabbath holy, set apart from other days? Both of these renditions of the fourth commandment tell us to rest; to refrain from doing work. In our society today, that may take a little time to accomplish. But make it your goal to do as little work as possible on the Sabbath. Why? First, because God said this is what you should do. Second, it is a great start toward the goal of making it different than other days.

Maybe you are fortunate enough to find a local congregation that observes the Sabbath. If so, join with them. Fellowship with others on this walk is important. If there is no congregation nearby, consider inviting others to your home for fellowship on the Sabbath. Sing some songs together, lead a Bible study, and of course have something to eat (preferably something you prepared the day before).  Share what you are learning and what is going on in your life.

To bring an even more worshipful ambience to your meeting, consider adding liturgy.  Don’t let the word frighten you; it is simply an orderly way to worship.  I’ve developed a very simple Sabbath liturgy that includes just a little easy Hebrew to get started.  You can view and download it for free here.

If you have no local congregation, you can probably find a Sabbath service online. Be careful, though, and try to check them out for sound doctrine. There are some way-out things floating around. One ministry I highly recommend, B’nai Shalom Messianic Congregation, broadcasts its services live every Friday evening here. If Friday night doesn’t work for you, you can watch the service during the day on Saturday. Services are archived at the same web site.

Put on a little worship music, relax and enjoy the day. This is a time Yeshua (Jesus) said was made for you (Mark 2:27). Think about it – our loving Father set apart a special day every week, just so that we could rest in Him.

If you would like to share how you keep the Sabbath, leave a comment below.

11 thoughts on “How to Keep the Sabbath”

  1. It’s 11/6/2020 The Holy Spirit told me to start honoring the Shabbat him March. I stared in May or June. It has very difficult. Nobody will join me. I see my church and many church s not teaching the true word. Things that are being taught are missing the mark. Like the pastor taught on tithing and used Haggai 1:6-10 for a reason to tithe. That has nothing to do with tithes it’s about the rebuilding of the temple. It is also prophetic about the end times the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree not having friuit. And God will destroy the Gentile Kindoms But not those chosen of Israel.

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  2. Thank youuuu. I don’t have a congregation, and i don’t know any messianic folks where I live. I do not go anywhere on the sabbath/shabbat. 😀 I have had fellowship with friends online, i know prob not good idea to go online, but i like to be with others, and if only way is online, then I guess it would be ok. 😮 🙂 We had a passover fellowship online and recorded it and it was great. 😀

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  3. nice and clever article. Great job. People should know about this day. It is clearly stated in Genesis the day God rested and also mentioned in different areas. My niche is abut spirituality so I need to apply the Sabbath as well because there are times I write every single day and on the 7th day as well.This is wrong. I should rest.

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  4. The Pastor of the church I attend delivered a message about this not very long ago. Even God himself rested on the seventh day after creating the earth. So not only does God command it, I also believe it is important to give our body some rest to regain strength and mental stability. Most importantly It is a time to worship God and be thankful for all he has done. Taking a Sabbath day once a week is a good time to grow closer to God.

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  5. Thanks for this concise explanation of the Sabbath! I find that when I do not take a Sabbath, not only do I lack all-important rest, but my work during the week suffers as well.

    I’d say it’s safe to say that God knew what he was doing when he instructed us to keep the Sabbath. He knows what is good for us!

    Thanks again!

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    • You are welcome, Kiefer, and thanks for the comment. This isn’t a complicated thing, but it is something we need to decide we will do. You are correct, God knew what He was doing – He always does. Now if we would just listen and put it into practice …

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  6. Definitely inviting, and resourceful. Have a very dear friend & Brother in Christ who happens to be Born Again from Jewish roots. We have had many discussions that have been remembered as I read the posts on your site. I love the Lighthouse, as we are told that we are a light, and to put it up on a hill. Good job.

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    • Thank you for the encouragement. Yeshua said He was the light of the world, and also told us to be the light of the world. Be blessed as you let your light shine. I hope you will come back.

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  7. As a visitor I would very much welcome learning more about the “Hebrew Roots of our faith” since it is unfamiliar to me. Would you be open to sharing via page that defines and describes a bit more about the Hebrew Roots of our faith? Do you honor the Sabbath on Fridays or Saturdays? With all sincere respect (and since I’m unsure), it would be helpful to know this information so I make sure not to order products on a Sabbath day. Your website is clean and welcoming. I wish you blessings and success now and always. Mitakuye Oyasin! ~ t

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    • Thanks, I am working on that. Scripture calls the seventh day the Sabbath, so that would be Saturday on our modern calendars. Blessings to you as you learn.

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      • Sabbath begins Friday evening snd runs to Saturday night, because in Genesis, God said “and there was evening and there was morning, the first day”. Friday Sundown is really the beginning of Saturday, the 7th day

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