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The Blessings of Sabbath for Business Owners

The Holy Spirit has been highlighting REST to me for some months – in all the forms brought to Israel:

  • Weekly, there was a Sabbath day p.w.

  • Annually, there were seven festivals (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, and others)

  • Every 7 years, was a sabbath year, to let the land rest (Lev. 25:1-7

  • Every 50 years, was Jubilee – when all debts were forgiven, all slaves freed, and all land that had been sold was returned to the original owners. (Lev. 25:8-17)

Understanding the value that comes from Sabbath being made for man (Mark 2:27) makes clear it’s intent – not as a legalistic function we must “do”, but an opportunity for relationship with God, to which He invites us. Not necessarily (I believe) on any one specific day of the week (because “the Son of man is Lord even over the Sabbath” – Mark 2:28), but with a definite call that we should have a Sabbath rest each week! – a day for us to receive the blessings God has determined to bestow (Gen. 2:4 and Exo. 20:11). How sad if we treat Sabbath in a careless and offhand way, thus missing out on the blessings God longs to pour onto us!

Likewise the value of festivals (see Lev. 23:4-44) becomes clear if we view them as ‘retreat opportunities’ – God-centred days offered to us in addition to weekly Sabbath days. They are extra times for us to stop deliberately, to make a bold, counter-cultural statement that ‘we don’t need to keep running at full pelt’, as we embrace the promise of God that He (not our customers) shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). They become days to celebrate Him, and to allow Him to work in us, as we simply ‘linger’ with Him, often with no pre- meditated purpose at all, but simply so we can practice His Presence, learning to be at one with Him.

Of course, the 7-year rests (when all debts are cancelled and even the land was required to lay fallow), are a significant faith-challenge. Will we take God seriously about His ability to supply, notwithstanding that our ‘manufacturing machinery’ is required to cease operations for a year? In an agrarian society, the land was the means by which ‘product’ was grown – whether as food for personal use, or food for sale. Yet here, God is saying: ‘Trust Me to be your supplier, not the capitalist marketplace, nor your customers, nor your own innovative marketing.’ (see Lev. 25:18-22)

And the 50-year Jubilee is perhaps our biggest challenge of all. All outstanding debts were cancelled, and all land sales (more akin to leases in Israel) were reversed so that every family had its land restored to them (see Lev. 25:23-24) – ensuring not only a heredity in Israel, but also ensuring a means of being able to continue growing food and/or earning an income. What higher bar is Jesus expecting of us, I wonder?


Early in Jesus' ministry, He made a categoric statement: "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law, until everything is accomplished." (Matt 5:18)

Of course, everything was accomplished in Jesus. Born both as a Jew, and as God’s King of the Jews, He had the right to represent His people in fulfilling the promise given to Abraham – and through Abraham, all peoples on earth (Gen. 22:18, Gen. 26:4, Acts 3:25). In fulfilling the Law, Jesus raised the requirements above and beyond the Mosaic Law, requiring us to live as God lives – an impossibly high target unless we allow Him to live in us (Gal. 2:20).

Whilst affirming that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void (Luke 16:7) He also made clear that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (Matt. 24:35). It is His words, therefore, through which we now live out “the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”, which has “made me free from the Law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

The Law was thus not abolished; rather it was fulfilled – and in the process we, in Christ, became subject to a higher Law, this “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2) – which requires an even greater personal holiness than the Mosaic Law did.

1) Food Laws: "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body. (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)" (Mark 7:18-19). Better still read this in its full context, verses 14-23, and it becomes clear that Jesus is saying that living as His disciple requires us to adopt God’s own standards – which are much higher than merely avoiding certain food groups.

2) Cleanliness Laws: Similarly, the rules covering what was ritually clean and unclean are now subject to a much higher requirement – one of generosity, justice, the love of God, humility, grace and again holiness – not mere ritual or mere cleanliness (read Luke 11:37-52).

3) Sacrificial Laws: His death and resurrection fulfilled the sacrificial laws absolutely, so animal sacrifices have now become irrelevant (read Heb. 10:1-18). He became the sacrifice for all Sin (not just ‘sins’), reversing the cause of the fall of creation, and initiating the beginning of the new age, not only of the Kingdom, but ultimately of the new heavens and the new earth yet to come. He became “sin for us” (an incredibly powerful statement in itself), “that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). There was a substitution of Sin onto Him and, in the process, not only the consequent redemption of all creation, but also the substitution of God’s own personal righteousness onto us. Not imputed to us – but imparted into our own new nature. It would therefore be impossible for us not to require ourselves to live lives of Godly righteousness and holiness now, as a result. God’s own character has become part of our new nature. Far from giving us an excuse to deny Godly living since we “live under grace” – it is now incumbent upon us to live lives as holy as Jesus . . . not by our efforts, but by accepting His free gift of righteousness.