December 24, 2006 – December 30, 2006
“And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” Mark 3:4.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 356–360; Education, 250–252; Medical Ministry, 214–216.
“The Saviour by His example has shown us that it is right to relieve suffering on the Sabbath.” Counsels on Health, 236.
“God has given us the whole of six days in which to do our work, and has reserved only one to Himself. This should be a day of blessing to us—a day when we should lay aside all our secular matters and center our thoughts upon God and heaven.
“All heaven is keeping the Sabbath, but not in a listless, do-nothing way. On this day every energy of the soul should be awake, for are we not to meet with God and with Christ our Saviour? We may behold Him by faith. He is longing to refresh and bless every soul.
“On Sabbath morning the family should be astir early. If they rise late, there is confusion and bustle in preparing for breakfast and Sabbath school. There is hurrying, jostling, and impatience. Thus unholy feelings come into the home. The Sabbath, thus desecrated, becomes a weariness, and its coming is dreaded rather than loved.
“The Sabbath is God’s time. He sanctified and hallowed the seventh day. He set it apart for man to keep as a day of worship.” The Faith I Live By, 35.
1 What types of “work” are permitted by God on the Sabbath day? Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9; 13:11–16.
note: “Often physicians and nurses are called upon during the Sabbath to minister to the sick, and sometimes it is impossible for them to take time for rest and for attending devotional services. The needs of suffering humanity are never to be neglected. The Saviour by His example has shown us that it is right to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. But unnecessary work, such as ordinary treatments and operations that can be postponed, should be deferred. Let the patients understand that physicians and helpers should have one day for rest. Let them understand that the workers fear God and desire to keep holy the day that He has set apart for His followers to observe as a sign between Him and them.” Counsels on Health, 236.
“There will always be duties which have to be performed on the Sabbath for the relief of suffering humanity. This is right, and in accordance with the law of Him who says, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.’ [Matthew 9:13.] But there is danger of falling into carelessness on this point, and of doing that which it is not positively essential to do on the Sabbath.” Medical Ministry, 50.
2 The Sabbath is a day of rest, but does this mean we should sleep more on this day than on other days? Romans 13:11; Psalm 132:4, 5; Proverbs 20:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6.
note: “None should feel at liberty to spend sanctified time in an unprofitable manner. It is displeasing to God for Sabbathkeepers to sleep during much of the Sabbath. They dishonor their Creator in so doing, and, by their example, say that the six days are too precious for them to spend in resting. They must make money, although it be by robbing themselves of needed sleep, which they make up by sleeping away holy time. They then excuse themselves by saying: ‘The Sabbath was given for a day of rest. I will not deprive myself of rest to attend meeting, for I need rest.’ Such make a wrong use of the sanctified day. They should, upon that day especially, interest their families in its observance and assemble at the house of prayer with the few or with the many, as the case may be. They should devote their time and energies to spiritual exercises, that the divine influence resting upon the Sabbath may attend them through the week. Of all the days in the week, none are so favorable for devotional thoughts and feelings as the Sabbath.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 704.
3 List some of the “small” things that should be completed before the Sabbath.
note: “In many families [on Sabbath] boots and shoes are blacked and brushed, and stitches are taken, all because these little odds and ends were not done on Friday. They did not ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.] . . .
“On Friday the clothing of the children is to be looked after. During the week they should be all laid out by their own hands under the direction of the mother, so that they can dress quietly, without any confusion or rushing about and hasty speeches.
“There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away.” Child Guidance, 528, 529.
“The violation of the fourth commandment is not confined to the preparation of food. Many carelessly put off blacking their boots, and shaving, until after the beginning of the Sabbath. This should not be. If any neglect to do such work on a working day, they should have respect enough for God’s holy time to let their beards remain unshaven, their boots rough and brown, until the Sabbath is past. This might help their memory, and make them more careful to do their own work on the six working days.” The Signs of the Times, May 25, 1882.
4 What should we consider when traveling on the Sabbath? Should we eliminate unnecessary travel? What travel is acceptable to God? Acts 1:12.
note: “If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. In harmony with the light which the Lord has given in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, we should be more careful about traveling on the boats or cars on this day. In these matters we should set a right example before our children and youth. In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. When starting on a journey we should make every possible effort to plan so as to avoid reaching our destination on the Sabbath.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 359, 360.
5 Since the Sabbath commandment extends to ourselves as well as to our families, what example should we exhibit to our children in regard to it? Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6–9.
note: “I counsel you, my brethren and sisters: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.] If you desire your children to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, you must teach them by both precept and example. The deep engraving of truth in the heart is never wholly effaced. It may be obscured, but can never be obliterated. The impressions made in early life will be seen in afteryears. Circumstances may occur to separate the children from their parents and their home, but as long as they live the instruction given in childhood and youth will be a blessing.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 359.
“We are not to teach our children that they must not be happy on the Sabbath, that it is wrong to walk out-of-doors. Oh, no. Christ led His disciples out by the lakeside on the Sabbath day and taught them. His sermons on the Sabbath were not always preached within enclosed walls.
“Teach the children to see Christ in nature. Take them out into the open air, under the noble trees, into the garden; and in all the wonderful works of creation teach them to see an expression of His love.” Child Guidance, 533, 534.
6 What kinds of activities should we provide for our children on the Sabbath day? Romans 1:20.
note: “The parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. Their thoughts will be carried up to nature’s God—back to the creation of our world, when the foundation of the Sabbath was laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Such are the lessons to be impressed on the minds of our children.” Child Guidance, 533.
7 What is God’s desire for us especially on the Sabbath? John 17:19–23.
note: “The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He ‘who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’ 11 Corinthians 4:6.” The Desire of Ages, 281, 282.
8 What work must be done in our hearts before we can really commune with Him? Matthew 5:23, 24.
note: “There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, ‘confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 356.
“The Saviour goes farther than this. He says, ‘If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’ [Matthew 5:24.] Many are zealous in religious services, while between them and their brethren are unhappy differences which they might reconcile. God requires them to do all in their power to restore harmony. Until they do this, He cannot accept their services. The Christian’s duty in this matter is clearly pointed out.
“God pours His blessings upon all. ‘He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ [Matthew 5:45.] He is ‘kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.’ Luke 6:35. He bids us to be like Him. ‘Bless them that curse you,’ said Jesus; ‘do good to them that hate you, . . . that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.’ [Matthew 5:44, 45.] These are the principles of the law, and they are the wellsprings of life.” The Desire of Ages, 310, 311.
9 As the end of the Sabbath approaches, what temptation presents itself? Amos 8:5; Matthew 15:8.
note: “I saw that through the past summer the prevailing spirit has been to grasp as much of this world as possible. The commandments of God have not been kept. With the mind we serve the law of God; but the minds of many have been serving the world. And while their minds were all occupied with things of earth and serving themselves, they could not serve the law of God. The Sabbath has not been kept. By some the work of six days has been carried into the seventh. One hour, and even more, has often been taken from the commencement and close of the Sabbath.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 150.
10 What should be our attitude even beyond the Sabbath hours? John 15:5.
note: “As the sun goes down, let the voice of prayer and the hymn of praise mark the close of the sacred hours and invite God’s presence through the cares of the week of labor.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 359.
“Let the members of every family bear in mind that they are closely allied to heaven. The Lord has a special interest in the families of His children here below. Angels offer the smoke of the fragrant incense for the praying saints. Then in every family let prayer ascend to heaven both in the morning and at the cool sunset hour, in our behalf presenting before God the Saviour’s merits. Morning and evening the heavenly universe take notice of every praying household.” Child Guidance, 519.
11 Will there be a time at all when those who love God will ever stop looking forward to His blessed day of rest? Isaiah 66:22.
note: “God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.” The Faith I Live By, 37.
Creative Power—“ Since the Sabbath is the memorial of creative power, it is the day above all others when we should acquaint ourselves with God through His works. In the minds of the children the very thought of the Sabbath should be bound up with the beauty of natural things. Happy is the family who can go to the place of worship on the Sabbath as Jesus and His disciples went to the synagogue—across the fields, along the shores of the lake, or through the groves. Happy the father and mother who can teach their children God’s written word with illustrations from the open pages of the book of nature; who can gather under the green trees, in the fresh, pure air, to study the word and to sing the praise of the Father above.” Education, 251.
“Parents should have a thorough understanding with their family that the sacred hours of the Sabbath are to be spent to God’s glory. They should be up with the sun, and have plenty of time to prepare for Sabbath school without getting into a rush, and perhaps losing self-control. If the proper preparations have been made the previous day, there will be abundance of time to review the lesson studied during the week; and both parents and children can go to the school with the assurance that they have the lessons well learned.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 54.
“Let not the precious hours of the Sabbath be wasted in bed. On Sabbath morning the family should be astir early. If they rise late, there is confusion and bustle in preparing for breakfast and Sabbath school. There is hurrying, jostling, and impatience. Thus unholy feelings come into the home. The Sabbath, thus desecrated, becomes a weariness, and its coming is dreaded rather than loved.” Child Guidance, 530.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.