SHABBAT SHALOM FOR
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself rested from his works, as God did from His.
“Shabbat Shalom,” meaning Peaceful Sabbath, is the Hebrew greeting heard in Jewish communities on Friday afternoons and throughout the daylight hours of Saturdays. Israeli hotels have special Shabbat elevators that stop on every floor, so no Jew has to push the button and thereby violate the Sabbath law to do no work. While God certainly commanded the people of Israel not to work on the Sabbath, this sort of hyper-legalism was never God’s intention for Sabbath observance, nor should it be the focus. God rested on the seventh day not because He had grown weary from the previous six-days of creation, but in order to give all mankind a day to renew both body and soul. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews elaborate on the most essential truths about the Sabbath. God’s Sabbath rest is not merely something for us to observe but something for us to experience. Entering God’s Sabbath rest relates to our personal salvation and experiencing the fullness of His peace throughout life.
Paul described this truth when he wrote: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Because we have been made right with God through the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we have ceased from all personal efforts to earn or merit salvation.
SABBATH PEACE COVERS EVERY ASPECT AND CIRCUMSTANCE OF LIFE
God’s Sabbath peace extends to far more than the assurance of our salvation, although the knowledge that all of our sins are covered by His blood offers every believer unceasing joy and peace. Sabbath peace and rest cover every aspect and circumstance of life, knowing that the God who created us will keep us in perfect peace because we trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3).
Many Christians fail to understand that entering God’s Sabbath rest or peace is part of the covenant of salvation. Instead, they choose to go through life holding on to their problems rather than holding on to God. Entering into God’s Sabbath peace is not merely for one day of the week but for every day of our lives.
Entering into God’s Sabbath rest means God opens the vaults of His riches to all who believe. He invites us to draw freely from His unlimited reserves of peace and other divine attributes that are part of the Kingdom. Yet, so many Christians fail to access the riches of God’s grace and instead opt to live their lives in fear, worry and doubt. This is why Paul wrote: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
The peace the world offers depends entirely on external conditions, while God’s peace is oblivious to outward circumstances. As Christians we may live our entire lives secure in the knowledge that God always has the last word in all matters. How foolish if we reject the peace that Christ alone can offer. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you, Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).
GOD’S PEACE GUARDS HEARTS & MINDS
Today there is so much that wants to rob us of our peace with God—troubles in the church, troubles in the nation and, of course, troubles in our personal lives. But, God assures us He will give us the victory in all things. Therein lies our peace and hope! In Christ we are always victors, not victims. The Bible says, “Cast all our cares on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Paul reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Friends, as you pass through the struggles and troubles of life, remember through Christ’s atonement you have entered God’s Shabbat Shalom forever.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
John Greenleaf Whittier