Last Shabbat was a disaster. There was an emergency at my husband's job so he needed to work on Shabbat for the first time in years. Saturday morning, I loaded up my car to head to congregation only to discover that it wouldn't start. With no option other than staying home, I went back inside and figured I could have a peaceful day of Torah study by myself. As soon as I sat down to read a tractor started to plow the field adjacent to our yard. Once he was done someone down the road decided it would be a great time to shoot guns for two hours. Needless to say I did not have the serene peaceful day of rest that I prefer Shabbat to be.
I was recounting my frustration to a friend of mine who is from a Jewish family, though she doesn't practice. Her response was, "When you try and keep Shabbat you learn really fast that it can't be done because we have so much to do. In ancient times they didn't have anything to do so it was easy for them to keep Shabbat so that was command was just for back then and not now."
How incredibly sad.
There is not a single Scripture that speaks against honoring Shabbat. The Bible does not teach that if we have a busy schedule we are free to neglect this command. There are no instances of Yeshua or his disciples dishonoring Shabbat. We are instructed to do no work on it, to set it apart as holy, and YHWH says it is a sign between him and us.
He also says this, "The mitzvah which I command you is not hidden from you, it is not far off. It is not in the heavens that you should wonder who will bring it to you. Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, 'Who shall go and bring the Word to us that we may hear and do it?' But the Word is very near to you. It is in your mouth, and in your heart, and in your hand, that you may do it." (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)
He says, "My commands are not too hard for you."
Shabbat is not convenient in today's Western culture. I get that. Society says that Friday night to Saturday night is for anything but rest and worship. Need to do yard work? Saturday is the day for that. Have errands to run? Do them Saturday morning. Football and basketball games are Friday nights. Almost all weddings are Saturday afternoon. It's the time of the week when friends want to hang out. A few stores I go to offer special deals that are only available Saturdays. I don't think this is a coincidence. Why should we be surprised that the enemy has worked so hard to corrupt this set apart day and to take it's benefits from us?
YHWH knew what our culture would be like, yet still he said, Guard my Shabbats.
This instruction was meant for us. There are no verses that contradict this. And while, yes we live in a busy day and age, so did the ancient Israelites. Shabbat wasn't convenient back then either. You think your life is busy? Imagine making dinner and needing to chop wood for the fire, slaughter an animal, and grow the vegetables. Imagine having to haul water home to drink and do the washing in. During Biblical times clothes were handmade, shoes were too. Copies of the Torah had to be done by hand. There were no matches to start fires. Wheat had to be grown, harvested, threshed, and ground into flour by hand. The Proverbs 31 woman? She had a lot to do. And I think that's exactly why YHWH commanded a day of rest. He knows how much we need it.
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 "Look! I am presenting you today with life and good and also death and evil -- in that I am ordering you today to love YHWH your Elohim, to follow his ways, and to obey his mitzvot, regulations, and rulings; for if you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and YHWH your Elohim will bless you."
Shabbat may not be convenient but it is worth it.