GOD’S SABBATH: A PURPOSE IN ALL THINGS – Has someone ever, perhaps thru misunderstanding your intended purposes, disrupted the order of your entire project and uprooted your master plan?

by admin

A PURPOSE IN ALL THINGS

 

A king, who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a servant who, in all circumstances, would say, “My King, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes!”
 
One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His servant managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent His Majesty from losing a finger. 
 
Furious and, showing no gratitude for being saved, the nobleman said “Is God good?   Is He?  If He were good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger.” 
 
The servant replied only, “My King, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and He knows the ‘why’ of all these things. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!” 
 
Outraged by his response, the king ordered the immediate arrest and imprisonment of his servant. 
 
Later, he departed on another hunt, this time alone, without his trusted servant.  But the king was captured by savages whose practice it was to offer human sacrifices. 
 
As the king lay terrified on the altar, about to be sacrificed, the savage priest discovered that his victim was … missing a finger!  The sacrifice would be imperfect – incomplete – and to the dismay of his captors, was thus unfit to be offered to their gods.  So the king was set free!
 
Upon returning to his domain, the king authorized the release of his servant, to whom he said very affectionately, “My dear servant, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by those wild men. But for lack of a single finger, I was let go!  However, I do have a question: If God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?”
 
”My King, had I gone with you on this hunt,” the servant replied, “I would have been sacrificed in your place,    because I am not missing a finger.”

Everything God does is for a reason – it is complete, fulfilling His express purpose.  He is never wrong! 2nd  Samuel 22: 31 says, “As for God,   His way is perfect;  the word of the LORD is flawless.”  NIV.

God’s way is the way of those who trust Him; it’s the way of those who desire to walk in all His precepts,     to walk with Him.

Romans 11:34 “… who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been His counselor?”  He is the Source of all wisdom, and He is all knowledge. He has a plan and a purpose in all that He does,   and in all that He asks of us.  He has a plan for your life and mine.

So, why then do we pray, “Thy will be done”, and then we resume the pursuit of our own flawed agenda?  Why do we do that?  He is our Counselor. We should be seeking,      following  His counsel.

Proverbs 14:12 admonishes, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” NIV 

God has a divine purpose in all things. So, would it not be wisest to consult Him  first? Particularly in spiritual matters?   Moreover … Who in his right mind would ever want to be found at cross-purposes with the Almighty?  The prophet Isaiah warns: “Woe be unto him   who strives with his Maker!”   Isaiah 45:9 

On the topic of purposes, let me tell you about the 100mph goat:

Two Tennessee good-old-boys are out hunting, and as they walk along the edge of a wooded area, they come upon an immense hole in the ground. They cautiously approach it and are amazed by its size – and its depth.

The first hunter says, “Wow, that’s sure some hole; I can’t even see the bottom. I wonder how deep that thang is.”

The second hunter says, “I don’t know!  Let’s throw something down and listen, and see how long it takes to hit bottom.”

Looking around them, the first hunter says, “Hey, there’s that old automobile transmission over there.  Give me a hand, and we’ll throw it in and see”.  

So they pick it up and lug it over to the hole’s edge, and they count together, “One, and two and three!” and they heave it into the hole.

Well, they’re standing there, listening intently and peering over the edge when they hear a frantic rustling in the brush behind them. 

As they whirl around toward the commotion, a goat comes crashing through the brush, runs up to the hole and, without hesitation, leaps in head-first, and disappears downward into the abyss.

While they stand gawking at each other and peering down into the hole, trying to figure out what that was all about, an old farmer approaches them.

“Say there,” says the farmer, “You fellers didn’t happen to see my goat around here anywhere, did you?”

The first hunter says, “Funny you should ask, ‘cuz we was just standing here a minute ago and a goat come dashing out of the bushes – doin’ about a hunert miles an hour – and jumps head-long, right into this-here hole!”

 ”That’s impossible!”, the old farmer exclaimed.  “I had him chained … to a transmission!”

Seriously, what went wrong?  Well, neither hunter considered that there might be a valid reason    that a transmission would be standing in the middle of the deep Tennessee woods.  But it had been placed there for a very sound reason!  The land-owner had an express purpose for putting it where they had found it.  But what resulted?  A loss for the owner,  and the demise of the goat!

I was an employer and supervisor for 41 years.  Occasionally, business would take me out of this area for several hours at a time; and to ensure that each worker would have enough to do while I was away, I would plan the work-distribution for that day, giving specific instructions for each one to follow.

Now, do you suppose those directions were optional or open to interpretation?  Well, of course not!  What do you think would have resulted if that were so?  It would have been chaos, at best!  But I did have a carefully-planned purpose in each assignment, and the systematic flow of work, as well as each employee’s job security, depended on their willingness to follow the plan.

Last Spring, I contracted an unidentified illness – physical weakness, internal distress, cardiac arrhythmia, fever, immobilizing chest pain, and, although it was undetected at that time, a significant loss of blood.  The culmination on June 23 was a series of three heart attacks, double lung failure, and double kidney failure – then cardiac arrest on June 24, and again on June 25.  The doctors called in my wife and told her I wasn’t going to make it.

One week on life-support, two and a half weeks in intensive care, and thru it all, more prayers  from more good people  than I could ever number, or even imagine.  I’ve been dead two times – and revived  twice! The ICU nurses called me “The Miracle Man”.

It was purely God’s amazing grace and His miraculous power that brought me through it all – there’s no question.  Right there in the ICU, when I became aware of the gravity of my situation, and the miracle thru which I was still breathing, I praised God out loud, repeatedly, and right there I committed  to spending my restored life  walking in all of His ways – in gratitude for all His mercies!

And as soon as I was able to walk on my own again, I revisited the Intensive Care Unit, to find, and to thank, the same nurse who revived me      two days in a row.  My gratitude for grace received!

According to Scripture, we are all on God’s life support, under His grace.  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short” … 6:23 “the wages of sin is death … but the gift of God is eternal life thru Jesus Christ, our Lord.”  Our restoration comes thru God’s mercy in Christ.  Will we gratefully acknowledge Him?   His wonderful grace?  Commit to walking in His Truth?  What will    we do?

 

Something bold and   quite unthinkable happened on our road to Eternity! The church of man,  back during the Medieval Period, dared to set aside    and actually alter many of God’s oracles, including several of His Ten Commandments.    We did it!  People did it – man did it!  We attempted to change   God’s precepts. Then we replaced them with our own variations.  Many of our substitutions were carried over    from pre-Christian,    pagan, worship. And although the rationale for these substitutions may sound reasonable,  this one fundamental fact remains.  Here is is:  Man does not – we never did,   we never will – man does not possess one shred of authority to alter God’s Word.  He has a distinct purpose in all that He ordains.  His way is perfect.

Listen to the Apostles’ testimony! In Acts 5:29:  We find clearly stated, “… then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God    rather than men.’ “ KJV.  And Jesus Himself proclaimed, “… in vain do they worship Me,  teaching for doctrines    the commandments of men!”  KJV.  In the process of altering God’s Commandments and His Statutes,   the profound significance of His purpose  in each precept   has been obscured.

 

The Ten Commandments define plainly and clearly what our Creator God stands for,   as well as what He won’t stand for!  The last six Commandments apply to our horizontal relationships with one another; and these deal with stealing, killing, lying, coveting, disrespecting our parents,  marital fidelity. and moral cleanness.

 

But the first four Commandments pertain solely to our vertical relationship with our Father in heaven.  These 4 directly address:

  1. 1.  Embracing false gods – God says: “I AM the Lord”; “Who is like unto the Lord?  There is none like Me!”
  2. 2.  Prohibition of graven images  and idols, which can come in many shapes & forms,   both tangible and intangible.
  3. 3.  Using God’s name irreverently, disrespectfully, casually, profanely, or claiming His name while denying His Lordship.
  4. 4.  God’s Sabbath invitation to rest, to His restoration, His peace & fellowship with Him. God’s Sabbath precept states His purpose, and the true significance found in, His Holy Day.

 

Our personal relationship with the Creator is rooted and grounded,  and it finds its origin and its ultimate fulfillment in,  God’s 7th-day Sabbath.  The Bible reveals that Shabbath is the sign of His Sovereignship in all the Universe.  Please, watch this:

 

Sabbath is the sign that it is He Who makes us whole, Who makes us complete.  It’s all about His amazing grace.  Sabbath is first

1)  The memorial of His Creation.  It’s Creation Week in Eden -

Genesis 2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” – He made it holy – “because in it, He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

 

And had we continued     to celebrate His original 7th-day Sabbath, we would have today   far, far fewer folks who   deny that we are created beings, and as such,  that we are accountable to a much Higher Authority   than ourselves.

 

2) The sign that it is He Who saves us. You’ll find that assurance right smack-dab in the heart of the 4th, the Sabbath, commandment. We are woefully incapable of “saving” ourselves.

 

3) And the Prophet Ezekiel testifies that God’s Sabbath is His

perpetual sign throughout all our generations, that it is He Who sanctifies us, day by day, moment by moment, as we seek His face and walk in His presence.    And God, speaking to Moses,  said:  Exodus 31:13 “… Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep, (please note that God refers to Sabbaths as “His”) for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the LORD   that doth sanctify you.”  KJV  There’s significance!

 

Now listen to this wonderful promise God makes thru the prophet Isaiah, to those who honor the symbol of His authority, His holy Sabbath: 58th  chapter, 13th verse: “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy DAY OF THE LORD honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, 14 then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob …”  

 

So, which day is the 7th?  Well, our calendar plainly reveals that Saturday is the 7th day.  And we need only look to the Jews, who have maintained this same 7-day-weekly cycle now for thousands of years.   But, how can we be certain Saturday is God’s Sabbath

 

How do we say “Saturday” in Spanish?  It’s “Sabado”!  Sabbath!

In Russian, it’s  “Subota”.      In Czech & Polish, it’s  “Sobota”

In Indonesian and Malaysian, Saturday is “Sabtu”.  Do you see Sabbath there?

And in Italian, they say “Sabato”       How about Arabic?  Would you believe, “Sabt” !!

 

Sabbath is so deeply in-grained in what are seemingly-unrelated cultures and languages. Even in Arabic, it is pronounced “Sabt”. Sabbath!

 

I have a chart at home that shows, in more than 100 languages, that the day named Saturday, or the seventh day of the week, is some very undeniably-recognizable form of the word “Sabbath”.

 

So, when the John the Revelator speaks of “the Lord’s Day”, he’s clearly referring to Shabbath – the Sabbath – the day that God calls “mine”; the one He refers to as “the holy Day of the Lord”! 

 

Now, watch this:  In Danish and in Norwegian, “Saturday” is “Lordag”.  “Dag” means “day”, and “Lordag” is “Lord’s Day”!

 

In the Greek language, although there’s an entirely different alphabet, “Saturday” is pronounced phonetically “Sa’ va to” and … and … the word for “Friday”, in Greek, translates “preparation day”.  Biblically, the sixth day – that’s the day prior to the Sabbath of the Bible – was known as “the Preparation”.  You may check out the Crucifixion and burial accounts in all four of the Gospels, and you’ll find there   clear references to “the preparation day”, on which Christ was crucified, and which preceded the Sabbath!

 

God’s plan and purpose is as  surgically-precise  as military GPS!

 

Listen to the Gospel writer, Mark, “But the Sabbath   was made to benefit man, and not man to benefit the Sabbath.” TLB Mark 2:27

 

So, on God’s Sabbath, in our household, we refrain from work and from other secular activities – household chores, shopping, even the “Boob Tube” remains off.  Essentially, we just pull the plug on the world’s “stuff”, with all its “bizzy-ness”.  We go to church on Sabbath morning, as did Jesus, as did the Apostles, as did the early, New Testament church.  That didn’t end until after the beginning of the Great Apostasy.

 

After church, we    enjoy dinner, and often-times the good company of family and friends.  Sabbath is a great time to call on a shut-in or to visit someone in the hospital.  On Sabbaths, we sometimes sit out on the deck and catch up on quality reading, or meaningful conversation; take a walk in the park, feed some ducks, or maybe take time to shore-up someone who is discouraged.  You can taste, and experience, and enjoy a truly unplugged Sabbath, filled with God’s peace and His blessing, with His presence, and His grace at its center and foundation!

Again, from Mark 2, verse 28: “So the Son of Man is LORD even of the Sabbath.”  Shabbath    is the only day that He calls His.

Now, speaking of the eternal “New Heavens and New Earth”, Isaiah prophecys: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 66:23  KJV

A most-valuable lesson I learned thru 11-1/2 years in a boys’ home was “You don’t mess with what isn’t yours!”  And who would think to disregard God’s Word, or His eternal purposes?  

Instead, He counsels us to become    as children – trusting, obeying,  knowing  that His plan and His purposes are best.

The distance between train-track rails, known as the U.S. Railroad Gauge,  is 4ft 8.5 inches.  Why?  Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the U.S. railroads.

But why did the English build them that size? Well, the first English rail lines were built by those who built horse-drawn tramways, and they simply used the same gauge … because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools used for building wagons,   which used that same spacing.

But why did the wagon-makers use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wheels would break, because they would not fit into the old ruts.  So, who built those old, rutted roads?  The first long-distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions.

And the ruts?  They were first made by Roman war chariots, and they used that 4ft 8.5 inch measurement – they were all alike in wheel spacing.  But why that width?  They were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war-horses!

The influence of old ruts tends to live on forever.  Many folks are following ruts of theological tradition with no idea of their origins.

King David, the “Man after God’s own heart”, testifies “…except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Ps 127:1

And in the words of Jesus, “Every plant which My Father has not planted  shall be rooted up.”  Matthew 15:13 

I thank the Lord for giving to us free moral agency – for free will –to follow or to reject His precepts; to walk in them, or to go our own way. And when we choose to obey, we may find ourselves in the minority group; we may have to face the heat – criticism or ridicule. It might appear  that we stand alone. But we’re not alone.  We stand with the Savior, and with the Saints of all ages.  God’s way is plainly marked, and the footprints of Jesus, our Example, are plain and clear for us to follow. We are in good company!

I am so glad that I’ve chosen personally to obey my Lord    all the way.  Initially, He saved me at the Cross;  then, He rescued me from a lost life that  I   had chosen;   and then He restored my life,  just a year ago,  when I had expired    like a parking meter.  God’s wonderful, amazing grace!!

 

So this little man is indescribably  grateful to my God and Savior and … anything He asks    is OK with me!  I want to please Him.  I want to stand on His Word, and walk in all of His precepts … because of His incredible mercy and because of His amazing grace … because of His salvation, His restoration.

 

As David says in Psalm 116:12, “How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?”  NIV

Shabbath:   Instituted in Eden;  reinforced by the Savior and His disciples;  preserved thru the Great Apostasy of the Middle Ages; and promised throughout all Eternity, the Sabbath remains the symbol of God’s authority.  It’s His memorial of Creation, His emblem of our redemption, and it’s the sign of His sanctification.  It is He alone Who makes us whole!

My favorite bumper sticker offers this sound advice: “When the crowd strays from God’s path, follow the path, not the crowd” Will you     surrender your will    to His authority?  Will you trust in His plan   and in His purposes,   or will you follow the crowd?

The return of Jesus is so   very   near –  it’s even at the door!  We want to be safely tucked under the wing of the Almighty, listening for His voice, walking in all of His counsel,    following His footprints  -  holding to that upward path to the strait gate – and brothers and sisters, we will meet again,   in the New Earth! 

 

Our most wonderful Heavenly Father: As your servant, Moses, asked of you, up on Mt Sinai, “If we have found favor with You, teach us Your ways, that we may know You, and may continue in your favor.”

Inscribe Your precepts on the fleshy tables of our hearts, and incline our feet to walk in Your ways, and to honor You in all things.

In the holy, worthy name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Amen                                   

 

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