The Sabbath Table changed my life.
Actually it was waking up to the Sabbath itself that changed my life.
The short version is almost 10 years ago, while doing a women’s bible study, one of the topics was on the Sabbath. Honestly, my first thought when I read about the upcoming topic was, “does this mean I have to take a nap on Sundays?” I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, I don’t have time to take naps, I’m a small business owner and I have to work 7 days a week, every single spare minute.”
Over the next few days, I had an encounter with God that literally changed the course of my life. I know that is big talk but it’s true to the very core of the words.
Out Of Time & Money
You see, the days following that bible study, my business took a nosedive. Out of time, money and options, I literally got on my hands and knees and begged God to help, to show me what’s going on.
In that moment of intense crying out, I happen to glance out onto my patio and saw three birds perched on my balcony. Instantly, Matthew 6:26 came to mind and I heard in my mind, “Be still and know that I am God”.
“Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest, nor do they gather food into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are?” Matthew 6:26.
From That Moment
It was from that moment that I began to learn about the beautiful gift of The Sabbath. As a Christian for over 30 years, I thought I knew the bible well. Turns out, I had been missing out on God’s appointed times that He established long ago…like starting in Genesis 1. On the 7th day He rested.
Not to mention it’s one of the Ten Commandments and that it’s a dress rehearsal for the future Great Sabbath (Eternity).
As a Christian, the only thing I knew about the Sabbath was as child, we had the Blue Law which prohibited retail stores from opening on Sunday. Other than that, I was clueless on how to observe the Sabbath, so I looked to my Jewish friends and resources, the blueprint, to learn from the people who have kept the Sabbath from the beginning of time.
There’s a Jewish saying that it’s not that the Jews have kept the Sabbath but the Sabbath has kept the Jews. Talk about inspiration and spiritual enrichment!
To my point of candles, bread and wine. These are the primary elements, the markers, of the Friday evening meal that ushers in the Sabbath.
Candles represent the Light of God that chases away the darkness and separation from the mundane to the Holy time of Sabbath, bread that reminds us of the life sustaining Manna that fell from heaven and the red wine symbolizes life-giving redemption.
Christians who observe the Sabbath see these elements as symbolizing Yeshua, the Light of the World, the Bread of Life and the Redeemer.
The dining table plays a central role in the Sabbath meals. The best dishes and a festive meal accompany Sabbath keepers. It’s like a mini-Thanksgiving meal every week!
A Sabbath Table ready for the Friday Erev of Shabbat Meal, Jerusalem
The Friday evening meal begins with lighting the candles while saying a special prayer. Then songs to welcome the angels followed by breaking bread and a toast to life with special prayers over the bread and wine. After that, the father puts his hands on his children and blesses them and then turns to his wife and blesses her as the Proverbs 31 woman. The meal continues for hours over delicious food, singing and interesting, stimulating conversation.
The next day brings 2 more meals, a festive Sabbath Day lunch and a smaller meal towards the end of the day. Food is the hub of it all…a Foodie’s delight! Speaking of foodies, click here to learn about my Foodie Tours in Israel.
The Sabbath Meal
The Sabbath meal is such an important part of a biblical lifestyle, that it is considered unacceptable for people to eat alone during The Sabbath. Thankfully, when I’m in Israel, I always have a seat at the table of my dear Jewish friends for The Sabbath meal.
Observing the Sabbath has truly given my life a richness and rhythm that was missing before. It’s a learning process, kind of like peeling back the layers of an onion.
I’m not alone, there are thousands and thousands of Christians who keep the Sabbath and God’s other appointed times, looking to the Jewish roots of our faith, the blueprint.
As I continue on this journey of faith, I keep finding out that the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. In other words, it would be an understatement to say how much I had been missing out on about God’s appointed times by not looking to the Jews and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
Even more interesting is a recent article from a prominent Jewish Rabbi based in Jerusalem who put out a call for non-Jews to start keeping the Sabbath. In the article he discusses how the implication of this will impact the coming of the Messiah. FASCINATING!!!! Read about it by clicking here.
Sabbaths in Texas vs Israel
So far, I’ve shared with you my personal awakening to the Sabbath which happened in Texas. Then I went to Israel where they observe it as a country. Everything is timed and scheduled around the Sabbath. From the moment the candles are lit at sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, the atmosphere in Israel literally changes.
Like a warm blanket, the pace slows and calm and shalom begin to cover the land. No cars running around, no businesses open, no loud noises. Only the sound of people talking, singing, forks & dinner plates, laughter, cheers to life.
There is nothing quite like it and it completely restores and nourishes the soul. It is truly life giving and the way Israel observes the Sabbath is the one thing I miss most when I’m not there.
I am thankful to have the Jewish people to learn from. After all, the Bible does say, “the Word will go forth from Zion.” Isaiah 2:3