The Sabbath, A Recognition Of God's Sustaining Power. 02/22/2014 (Morning thought)

Exodus 16:22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.  23 And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.  24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field.  26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.  27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.  28 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?  29 See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.  30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

This passage of scripture, drawn from the experience of the Hebrews, teaches us that the Sabbath (Saturday) is not only a memorial of God's creative work, but it also is a practical recognition of His sustaining power, exercised night and day in upholding everything and everyone He has created. Our understanding of this sacred truth is of critical importance to our consequent acknowledgement of our dependence on Him. The various systems God has set in motion do not run on "Automatic", independent of His ongoing sustenance and intervention. The Bible makes this truth explicitly clear. Let's read:

Isaiah 40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.  26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

It is a very solemn truth that we declare, that God is much more involved in the day to day operations on the earth than many, even Christians realize. The Bible firmly rejects the notion that "God is watching us from a distance", the popular song by Bette Midler. The scriptures teach us that, not only is God cognizant of everything that is happening upon the earth, but He also takes proactive measures to sustain man, and also to prevent the devil from destroying millions of people suddenly. It is very important for us to understand this. Let's read:

Psalms 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.  2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:  5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.  6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.  7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.  9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.  13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.  14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.  20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.  21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.  22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.  23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. 24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.  25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.  26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.  27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.  28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.  29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.  30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.  31 The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

These and other similar scriptures teach us unmistakeably that God is proactively involved on a day to day basis in all of our experiences, and thus it is in recognition of this truth, and the fact that He created all things, that the Sabbath is given as a memorial.

In our passage of scripture for today, the Hebrews were commanded to lay aside the temporal concerns of life over the Sabbath hours so that they could consider the truth of God as Creator and Sustainer. The food that would have normally spoiled on any other day was miraculously preserved by the power of God, thus teaching us a very important lesson. It is because of God, and God alone why we are able to exist. Even those who do not believe in God are recipients of His mercies which are renewed to us every day.

This sacred truth was put to the test when Elijah the prophet went in unto Ahab and told him that no rain was to fall for three and a half years, according to the word of the Lord. Ahab and his wife Jezebel and erroneously taught the people to look to Baal as the one who sent the rain in due season. But he and the nation of Israel soon found out that rain comes as a direct intervention by the Eternal God. Let's read:

1st Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.  7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

1st Kings 18:1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.  2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.  5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts.

After the nation was brought to its knees, and confession, repentance, and acknowledgement of  God was made, the Lord then unlocked the windows of heaven, and heavy rain began to fall once more. Let's read:

1st Kings 18:41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.  44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not.  45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.

In our day, modern science has excluded and removed God from His creative works. The Sabbath (Saturday) which was given as a memorial of God's sustaining and creative power, is now the busiest shopping day of the week, and "Mother Nature" has now become the official god-child of the ancient Baal. But this is soon going to change, as we will behold with our very own eyes, strange convulsions of nature, for which there will be no scientific explanation. As science continues to exclude God from His creation, the earth will be more and more at the mercy of satan, who does not know what the word mercy means, and the results will be similar to the devastation Job suffered when satan was granted permission to afflict him.

However, the Lord is still pleading with the inhabitants of earth to stop and consider the sacred truth that He is indeed the Creator and Sustainer of all. His hand is still outstretched in love, beckoning to every living person to "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy". We sincerely hope and trust that every one would stop, look, and listen to the voice of God, calling to us from the pages of sacred writ, for if we do the promise in Isaiah will be ours.

Isaiah 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

May this experience and this promise be ours, both now and forever. God bless!