“...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
The other day, my kids thought they had me cornered when they posed this question to me: “Mom, what is the first day of the week?” Well, they already knew my answer: “Sunday”, I answered. So, here is where they thought they had me cornered. They followed my answer by then asking, “Then why is the Sabbath on your 'first day' when in the bible it says that God rested on the seventh day?” Which of course to them would have set Monday as the first day of the week.
So, I went on to give them a little bible history lesson on the difference in the days of the week between the Jewish sabbath and the Christian sabbath – that being the Jewish sabbath is on Saturday, but that day of the week for the Christians coincided with the day Jesus was sealed in the tomb with no hope of resurrection. On the other hand, Sunday gave these followers of Christ new hope because Jesus did rise from the dead, the early church decided to make Sunday a separate day for their sabbath. (It also allowed for the Jewish Christians to keep both sabbath days.)
From that conversation and on into the week, I kept thinking about how much hope has it's place in the sabbath discussion. It is all wrapped up in our hope that Jesus Christ gaves us Christians the ability to overcome the grave. Yet, then I came upon Romans 5:3-4 (above) and realized that tribulations, perseverance, and character building activities are also what God says brings us hope, that those types of activities are far what I picture in my mind the type of sabbath practices I am accustomed to.
But yet, resting has more to do with peace of the soul then rest for the body. For that simple reason, the real truth God was trying to show me is that the things which lead to hope are for sure the greatest companions to have with us on every sabbath adventure. Read what theses verses say about hope:
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” 1 Thessalonians 2:19
“...for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
These verses say that our hope is based on God's mercy, His abundant redemption, being in His presence, waiting for His coming, the fact we have access to draw near to Him at will, that we have a place in heaven secured for us, and our salvation just sits ready to be revealed to us. I have to say this is a great list that brings a lot of rest to my soul, and like Hebrews 6:19 says, these things we hope in are like “an anchor of the soul.”
Yes, rest has a lot to do with hope; hope has a lot to do with the sabbath; and therefore the sabbath has a lot to do with the things that bring hope into a more clear and defined perspective in our lives: tribulation, perseverance, and character building.
So, on another day of my Sabbath experiment, I am again sitting back and thinking of the few lessons God has led me to in regards to looking at the sabbath from His perspective. And yet these lessons leave me wondering about what lessons I still have yet ahead to discover as the experiment continues on my sabbath days yet to come.