Come let us go up, come let us go up
To the mountain of the LORD
Who can ascend His holy hill Who can approach His Holy Place Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart (repeat)Come let us go up, come let us go up To the mountain of the LORD
Lift up your heads, O mighty gates And be lifted up, O ancient doors So that the King of Glory may enter in
Nations will come to celebrate Adonai will teach us His ways And the God of Israel will send the rain
And the law will go out from Zion From Jerusalem His Word All creation will know your Name Forever Your praises proclaim
Who can ascend His holy hill Who can approach His Holy Place Only the ones who are washed by the Lamb
David Danced/Heavens Be Glad
Let the heavens be glad, let the earth rejoice
Let the nations say the Lord reigns (repeat)
King of Glory
Open up, you ancient doors Fling wide, you gates And let the King of glory Come in and take His placeWe want to see You lifted high above all things And crowned as King, King of glory For You are good and we will sing And shout Your praise, King of glory King of glory.
And every knee will bow, every heart confess, Yeshua You are lord
Yeshua, you are Lord of all.
We’ll sing, with a shout we’ll proclaim that You are God,
You are our King of Glory
All Your sons and all Your daughters Around the table for You Father We have come to make Your heart glad All creation waits and trembles God come reveal all of Your children We long for You to make us one Make us one
Our cry is rising to Your throne Heaven and earth joining along Oh how the heart of Your bride longs To see You high and lifted up
We join in the endless song We join in the endless song We join in the endless song You are Holy, You are Holy We join in the endless song We join in the endless song We join in the endless song Ata Kadosh, Ata Kadosh
You are great and greatly to be praised You are great and worthy is Your name
O daughters of Zion O Abraham’s sons Hear the words of your Father Hear His promise of love I will make you a blessing So count the stars if you can You will be a great nation I will give you this land
I will bring you back home I’ll bring you back home, oh my children You will no longer roam Lost and alone in the night There is nothing on earth that could take you away Once I gather you under my wings I will bring you all back home again
Though you’ve wandered like strangers To the ends of the earth I will send you a savior I will finish my work You have no other shepherd You have no other lord Green pastures are waiting in Zion once more
I will bring you back home I’ll bring you back home, oh my children You will no longer roam Lost and alone in the night There is nothing on earth that could take you away Once I gather you under my wings I will bring you all back home
So we pray for the peace But look to the East For the Sun rises sudden and fierce Every prophet and priest and king in the City Will look on the One they have pierced We will mourn for the One we have pierced
But don’t fear o my daughters Or sons of Abraham I will wash you with water I will offer the Lamb Though your sins were like scarlet They’ll be whiter than snow I have always been with you I will never let go
I will bring you back home I’ll bring you back home, oh my children You will no longer roam Lost and alone in the night There is nothing on earth that could take you away I will gather you under my wings I will bring you all back home Oh I will bring you all back home again
There might be some of you coming to get a primer on how to practically observe Shabbat and when you find a philosophical conversation about the heart of it you are more than a little overwhelmed.
This is for you.
Firstly. What does the Word of God say about Shabbat and how does He wish for us to honor Him during this time?
He gave us an example in Genesis 2:1-3 where he “ceased from His labors and rested”. It’s that simple.
But you have toddlers and critters who get hungry! The dishes pile up and you want to pull your hair out because the mess causes such anxiety you can’t rest.
Exodus 20:6 has an outline. “Six days shall you labor and do all your work.”
All of it?
If you had a special day planned for your family and you knew, beyond all doubt, that you needed to get it done by a certain time so you could enjoy the day with them, wouldn’t you do all your work ahead of time? We must not only learn but commit to reorient our lives around the Biblical timeline and not be slaves to the calendar that is dictated by our urgency and our anxiety.
Shabbat starts at sundown on the sixth day so check your weather app to find out when that is. Then plan your week and days accordingly. Sabbath is NOT a burden but rearranging your life to be different from what has been always your practice CAN be hard.
Don’t confuse the two truths. Sabbath is not hard. Turning the ship around is.
So, now you know when it starts.
Secondly. You’ve organized yourself and you are as ready as you can be. The sunsets and NOW WHAT?!?!
Many families will make a special dinner, light candles, bake a twisted/braided egg bread, drink wine or grape juice, and give thanks to YHVH as they pray over one another. There are ancient Hebrew blessings that offer thanks to the Father for His guidance and provision of the light, the wine, and the bread. All of these actions set the day apart as they begin to celebrate. And it can be lovely. And it can be overwhelming. And it can easily become rote and religious.
What do you HAVE to do?
The command is that the Sabbath, the seventh day, is “a Sabbath unto the Lord” (Exdus 20:10). So it’s not just a day off from toil it is a day that belongs not solely to us but also to Him and He has a specific plan for it.
“You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.” Deuteronomy 5:15
Remember your freedom from bondage and accept your privilege to set this day aside for God’s purposes.
A few ideas are as follows:
Make the time to study the Word together.
Families and congregations all over the world study the Torah portions on this day. This is a great resource to help you know what those Scriptures are.
Listen to worship music and read inspiring stories/books
Slow down and take time to fellowship and engage with one another
As YHVH did in the Garden, take the day to enjoy creation
What about all the things? The bread. The wine. The candles. The sayings in Hebrew.
Are they necessary?
To me, they can be a beautiful and elegant tradition loosely based on some aspect of Temple worship but they are NOT required for the honest observation of Shabbat. That being said, they can be a wonderful way of setting the time apart within the context of the humdrum of the week.
Seated in my clean house around a beautiful table setting, a lovely home-cooked meal steaming, my sparkling glass, and a ruby wine refracting candlelight is a balm to my soul. Beauty speaks to us and the effort to make our Shabbat time as special as we can is a way we can choose to honor the Father.
However, these things do not make it a more valuable and godly Sabbath than the ones where we crawl to the finish line, crash on the couch, and cry “UNCLE!” from the week that was.
Our heart’s desire is to honor God and hold His timetable sacred. Special. An unmoving cornerstone in our life.
What is prohibited? What CAN’T you do on Shabbat?
That is not an easy question to answer in our current world and, as those who do not live in the Land of Israel, it seems there are varying conversations.
The teachings about how to be observant can be fairly lax in a modern reformed synagogue or more western church type environment. And that laxness can be a stark contrast with the extreme legality of orthodoxy that can be as rigid as portioning out your toilet paper ahead of time.
How do I prepare for Shabbat?
In a perfect week, I begin preparing myself for cleaning/food preparation/spiritual insights by Wednesday at the latest. I do grocery shopping, prepare meals ahead of time, clean the house, and plan the menu for Friday evening. In an imperfect week, some but not all of those things get done and I am deeply grateful for His grace that can carry me beyond my lack and weakness.
What doesn’t change is whether or not we stop our regular work when the sun goes down. We do. Unless a crisis presents itself.
On Shabbat, our personal observance is reflective of doing no “ordinary work”. I don’t clean house, fold clothing, garden, or spend time on secular entertainments. We will study the Torah portion, perhaps watch or listen to teaching when we aren’t meeting with our community, and rest. Often lengthy conversations about all kinds of things will organically evolve over coffee because there is no other pressing matter to keep us preoccupied.
Another aspect of our Sabbath-keeping is to refrain from commerce on Sabbath unless there is an urgent need. This is, for us, a desire not only to prevent engaging in selfish pursuit but to also not ask someone else to work FOR me on the Sabbath. To not CREATE work for others during our day offered to the Lord.
We have grown, through the years, in our observance and understanding of the Father’s heart in the keeping of His special day. Things that have become standard for us were once awkward and clunky, painful and overwhelming. But Abba has been faithful to us.
He will guide you too as you seek to honor Him in His Shabbat.
Sabbath, Shabbat, is so much more than just a mandated period of time set aside for people to stress over things they can’t do while forcing themselves to sit still and “honor the Lord”.
People who don’t have time to Sabbath often find themselves overworked, exhausted, anxious, and filled with resentment over all the things that demand their time. That is who I was before I was given the opportunity to set aside the Sabbath as an immovable object in the way I live and function here on earth.
Free men get to self-determine. Slaves are bound to the will of their master. Free men can take a day off. Slaves never do.
If you can’t take a day off? You aren’t as free as you think you are.
The Seventh Day of Rest, Shabbat, is a reflection of the heart of YHVH. In the beginning, He took a pause from His creative work to enjoy what His hands had created. Specifically, He looked at mankind and was pleased with us. We are very good to Him.
The longer I study Torah, seeking to examine Scripture with an open heart, the more I am reminded how relational our heavenly Father is. His purpose in creating and seating us in the midst of a beautiful, luscious garden was to provide us with the atmosphere to be enjoyed while we grow and enjoy His fellowship. Adam and Eve, the first of humanity, were placed in perfection and their only requirements were to have dominion over His creation and walk with each other and with Him.
It was literally their occupation to manage His creation and to be available for communion with God.
We all know the story. They chose otherwise and that perfect world was plunged into chaos and anguish. The fall of man led to pain and death, separation and isolation, fear, and darkness. Cast from the garden into hard work, sacrifice, and, most profoundly, alienation from the Creator, it seemed as though all was lost.
The most profound statement in all of human history.
God was not willing for us to remain in isolation and distress. He immediately began implementing His plan for redemption. An eternally hopeful divine way of reconciling his now fallen creation with Himself in holiness and relationship. This plan had been in the works from the beginning.
The idea of Sabbath rest permeates Scripture. From the creation account to Hebrews we are consistently reminded that peace and rest are His design for us and striving and pain are aspects of the will of man in tangible practice.
Sabbath is where life begins. Quietly, peacefully, intentionally walking with Him in the moments He set aside. Sabbath was made for us.
In Matthew 12 Yeshua is found walking through fields as His disciples, the cohanim, began eating of the grain because they were hungry. Predictably, the leading religious leaders soundly rebuked Him and tried to find fault with Him.
His reply? “If you knew what ‘I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifice’ meant, you would not condemn the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Shabbat!” (Matthew 12:7-8)
They were “harvesting” on the Sabbath!!!! How could they be innocent? And what does compassion, animal sacrifice, picking a few grains on Saturday, and Yeshua have in common anyway?
The cohanim were hungry so they ate. He had compassion on them to preserve their life. He didn’t require more effort, more loss, more blood. More works. He chose to have compassion on them.
Who has the authority to define the Sabbath?
Only the One who set this day apart, the Creator of the Sabbath, Himself, can define this day and make declarations about it.
Of all the things we often try to make Sabbath mean when explaining ourselves to people who have no revelation of this truth, do we share the life our Messiah chose to focus on? He chose Life. Because it’s all about life. It’s always been about life.
The animal sacrifice, the very first one, was at the time of Adam and Eve’s fall. The animal’s blood, a foreshadowing of Messiah’s sacrifice and redeeming blood, covered their sin, the furs covered their shame, and, as they were cast out, their lives began to count down.
Only the Lord of the Sabbath could say otherwise. Only the One who would redeem them could possibly intervene and transform their bleak new normal into a glimpse of the Garden.
As centuries progressed and the observance of Torah went from story to myth to legend in the minds and hearts of men the importance placed on rote symbology took the place of the original relationship. Mankind chose to forget the time when a grieving Father covered His children both figuratively and literally, and began the work of tirelessly pursuing them to restore relationship with Him and the hope of life everlasting.
Yeshua staked His claim on Shabbat. It wasn’t the 3rd day or the 6th day or the 2nd. It was the 7th day and it mattered to Him. It mattered enough for him to take that moment of admonition and move from the field to the synagogue where they sat in pious observance. In His authority He healed the man with the shriveled hand and once more affirmed the importance God places on human life.
“Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, they asked him, “Is healing permitted on Shabbat?” But he answered, “If you have a sheep that falls in a pit on Shabbat, which of you won’t take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore, what is permitted on Shabbat is to do good.” (Matthew 12: 10b-12)
This day matters to Him and, its original intent, to reflect upon His creation and enjoy His company, to bring life, had been perverted into a wall of text and more rules than one would think possible for a single 24 hour period. This was the heavy sacrifice that brought death to relationship and judgment instead of compassion.
The elevation of man’s ideals over the significance of humanity’s relationship with their Faithful Creator desecrated the covenant He was devoted to restoring.
This hopeless idealism manifests in our brokenness, our spiral toward death. We have spent millennia wandering away from the Garden of His care and His fellowship.
Hosea 6:6 is a difficult passage. The Lord clearly and precisely reveals the waywardness and rebellion of His people. They had broken the covenant. Murder, greed, faithlessness, immorality… Struck down, cut to pieces by the Lord, they were a grotesque shadow of their promised identity if they had only obeyed. Their sins led them to atrocities but His heart remained the same and He was faithful enough to keep them from continuing beyond their ability to return.
He wants relationship through the intangibles of mercy, compassion, love and the touch-stones of conscious obedience as we commit ourselves to the knowledge of YHVH through his Torah and the rest of Scripture.
Both of those elements, Spirit and Truth, come from an intentional pursuit of being restored to relationship with the Creator. All that is necessary for abundant life.
And since the whole point of our faith is to LIVE, then it seems a simple transition that truly living starts with making time for Him and meeting Him when He is ready to be found.
He is found by those who seek Him. He is found within His appointed times. Sabbath, the New Moon, His Feasts.
“For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.” Exodus 20:8
We don’t make it holy. To think that we, as we are, can be invited to participate with Him is amazing. We don’t deserve it. But we desperately need it.
We have been invited to enter into a holy space in time to be renewed and refreshed. To find life again in a culture, a sinful world, steeped in death. Our Creator knows we need rest and communion and, for those who walk in it, the benefits cannot be overstated.
We don’t reconcile ourselves to God, we couldn’t possibly. He took that on and redeems us through His blood. This is unchangeable truth. Yet we tend to lose direction, wander, find other things that fill our minds and lives. The observance and keeping of a weekly, physical, practical Shabbat reorients our lives to a posture that keeps our focus on Him, the bringer of life, and the One who has never given up on our redemption.
He is our Salvation. Our Shalom. Our Rest. Our Hope.