Five Ways to Honor Shabbat

Shabbat is such an excellent illustration of how there is more to faith than simply hoping our beliefs are correct or mentally acquiescing that there is an all-powerful God. We should believe that Shabbat is a set apart day as YHWH commanded, yes. But we should also keep Shabbat as the set apart day! Just believing in it or claiming to keep it while looking absolutely the same as everyone else it is not what YHWH asks of us. He requires that we do something.


Five Ways To Honor Shabbat | Land of Honey

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These five things I am sharing with you today are simple, practical ideas to make Shabbat look different than the rest of the week at your house. These are consistent with what the Tanakh teaches but are not expressly stated in the Word. Please see Fifteen Things Scripture Says About Shabbat for more on this.

1. Put the rest of you life on hold. Because, yes, Shabbat starts with a clear calendar. As the set-apart day, YHWH intended Shabbat to be different from the rest of your week. A big part of that is not penciling in commitments or treating Shabbat as an 'overflow' day. In addition to not working professionally, don't by shy about saying to your friends that you can't make Saturday morning brunch (tell them you're free Sunday though!), or a bridal shower (you can always send a gift). There's nothing wrong with letting your child play tee-ball during the week and then having them skip Saturday practice. Your inbox can wait twenty fours for you to get back to it. 

Side note: I get that this is not exactly convenient. Sometimes it's really hard. For me, honoring Shabbat has meant missing birthday parties and bridal showers. It's meant not getting hired for jobs I've wanted because of my limited availability. It means skipping the Saturday morning farmers market and missing events that are scheduled on YHWH's set apart day. Friends and family not understanding is part of keeping the commandments, and sadly that can lead to hurt feelings. I don't wish those things on anyone but I can tell you that YHWH commands we honor him above our family and friends, even when that doesn't make sense to us.

2. Disconnect. Consider putting away electronics at the start of Shabbat or at least become more intentional with how you utilize them. Somehow when YHWH commanded us to rest I don't think he intended a day of Candy Crush gaming and Facebook posting. Keeping the television off and staying away from social media are good ways to separate the seventh day from the regular days. While I keep my phone on, I've learned the hard way that getting an email about a problem at work or something to do does not make for a peaceful day, especially since these things are out of my control anyway on Shabbat. So, on Friday evenings my email gets switched off and I make it a point to avoid social media. This has been very positive for me. In addition to the obvious benefits of being more 'present' without the distraction, many studies suggest a digital day off is very beneficial to our physical and mental health.

3. Give a blessing. Judaism has a tradition of father's speaking blessings over each family member as they sit down to the Friday evening meal. It is a combination of speaking life over your family and praying for them. While doing this as a Shabbat activity isn't a commandment there is no better opportunity to take a few minutes to express to your loved ones how much you value them and to remind them of their identity and value in the Messiah. Even if you are by yourself, speak words from Scripture over your person, your family, congregation, work place, and concerns on your mind.

4. Spend some time sitting down and relaxed! It seems like outdoor activities are a big favorite for many of us on Shabbat and I agree that time outside in good weather is fabulous. Lots of studies show that fresh air is a great way to lift your mood and lessen anxiety, so I am definitely on board with that idea. But I'm also going to tell you--put your feet up. If it's nice enough to relax outside, fantastic! But Shabbat doesn't have to be all nature walks and dinner hosting. Make it a point to sit or lie down just to relax and unwind. Watch your kids play. Take a nap. Read Scriptures. Pray or spend time journaling, and just take it easy. 

If you are overworked or new to Shabbat keeping this might feel really strange at first. It's way too easy to get distracted by what we "should be doing," and not be able to enjoy ourselves. Something that helps me with this is just jotting down any to-do list items that come to mind. That way I know I will remember them later and my mind is free from that occupation. Figure out what works for you. Listening to music, diffusing essential oil, getting fresh air, or a cup of tea can all help to calm us.

5. Connect with like minded believers to hear the Word. In Acts 13:44 it says that almost the entire city gathered to hear the word of YHWH that Shaul and Barnabas were teaching on Shabbat. I love imagining the excitement and anticipation these people must have had for hearing the truth. I mean, is there a crowd in the world you wouldn't brave to hear Rabbi Shaul teach on Yahusha and the Tanakh? There is a valuable spark that happens when we are able to hear the word of YHWH with others.

Hopefully you have a congregation you are able to attend that teaches truth. If you haven't found one yet Torah to the Tribes' fellowship finder would be a good place to start looking. If you don't have a congregation there's no reason you can't sit down with your family and friends to read from Scripture together. If you have friends with similar beliefs and lifestyle that are too far to see on Shabbat, checking in with them via a phone call or text is better than nothing.

This isn't an exhaustive list but rather intended to make us think about how we are setting apart Shabbat. How do you honor Shabbat?

4 comments:

  1. i liked this, i think it was also helpful... this is how i've come to like to spend my Shabbats. It is a conscious effort to "stop" and "slow down" at first, but it feels great to just have the time 'guaranteed' as set aside and built in to your week ...Our Creator really loves us!

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  2. This is very HELPFUL! We are new to observing Sabbath and learning Torah! Your blog has been such a blessing and help, especially in seeing how the mother and wife partakes, observes and prepares for Shabbat & other feasts!

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  3. This post was very helpful! My husband and I are new to observing Shabbat and learning Torah! Your blog has been such a blessing & help for me as I'm learning so much! Also, its nice to see a mother/wife's point of view on how to observe and prepare for Shabbat and other feasts! Thank You!

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    1. That makes me so happy to hear April! How long have you guys been on this path? Thank you for your encouragement!

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