What do I do on the Sabbath?

I get asked the question frequently, “What am I supposed to do on the Sabbath day?” The following Torah Scripture and gives us much a unique insight into the answer to this question.

Numbers 28:9, On the Sabbath day. Every Sabbath YHVH required double sacrifices to be offered. What can we learn from this seemingly minor, easily overlooked detail pertaining to the Levitical sacrificial system to enrich our Sabbath (Heb. Shabbat) experience? Much!

The Levites offering a double sacrifice on Shabbat was a foundational principle of the sacrificial system. This teaches us that we need to spend more time seeking YHVH on his set-apart or holy Shabbat. This means being a living sacrifice to YHVH. What are the ramifications of being a living sacrifice?

In this age of self-indulgence and self-centeredness, the subject of self-denial and being a living sacrifice is not a popular one, yet laying one’s life down or becoming a living sacrifice, is a fundamental principle of the Christian life—something about which Scripture speaks volumes! (Read the following: Rom 12:1; Pss 4:5; 27:6; 50:8–15; 51:17; 107:22; 119:108; Prov 15:8; 21:3; Jer 17:26; 33:11; Hos 6:6; 14:2; Jon 2:9; Mal 1:11; Matt 9:13; 12:7; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:17; 4:18; Heb 9:26; 13:15; 1 Pet 2:4.) 

Self-denial is rooted in our covenantal relationship with our Yeshua, who is not only our Savior, but also our Master. When we become a disciple of Yeshua the Messiah and laid down our lives in the watery grave of baptism and accepted his payment for our sins, we covenanted to follow and obey him—to lay down our lives as well for him just as he did for us (Phil 2:5–8), that is, to become a living sacrifice to love, serve and to obey him regardless of what our carnal nature wants to do. As the apostle declared, we are not our own, but we were purchased with a price—the precious blood of Yeshua (1 Pet 1:18–19; Eph 1:4). This all translates into how we observe the Sabbath. On this set-apart day (i.e. it is set-apart from our normal, worldly activities), do we do what pleases our fleshly appetites or what pleases our Heavenly Master (Isa 58:13)?

So what types of activities should fill our Sabbath time that exemplify the Levites’ making a double offering on the Sabbath? Once again, please review the scripture verses listed above about being a living sacrifice. From these we learn that being a living sacrifice involves any activity that is a of worshipful and devotional nature toward our Heavenly Creator. Therefore, shouldn’t all of our Sabbath-day activities in some way point to YHVH, and in some way strengthen our walk with and relational ties to our Creator, and our relationship with others who are of the household of faith? 

Let’s not forget an important truth: Keeping Torah is not about bondage (to a legalistic set of dos and don’ts); rather, it’s a vehicle to promote bonding and relationship (i.e. building loving relationship between man and his Creator, between man and his fellow man). Therefore, our Sabbath activities are about building spiritual relationships Elohim and our fellow man.


14 thoughts on “What do I do on the Sabbath?

  1. Yes. If can add, the Sabbath is also a mind set, and a feast day. A celebration and picture of the Millennium. Finally, Exodus 31:17 tells us it is sign between us and YHVH forever!

  2. Isaiah 58:13 tells us we should not speak our own words or find our own pleasures on the Sabbath. What is “good” to do or talk about on the other week days, is not necessarily “holy.” Sabbath is holy time. Thank you for this post.

    • In context, Isaiah 58 reference fasting, and afflicting our souls. A clear reference to the Day of Atonement, and not a normal Sabbath.

      • Shalom Steve
        had to have a look at your reference as my husband and I have a difference of opinion on this and I thought I should revisit how I had perceived those scriptures so long ago.
        I have a little better grasp of some of Judaism’s practice now, I conclude the same as originally about resting before YHWH.
        I haven’t looked at the Hebrew but am aware there are different fastings in Judaism. Fastings of the 5th month in mourning for the loss of the Temple (s) & exiles as well as fasting in the 7th month of affliction before YHWH on the day of atonement and personal fastings as well……. like Yeshua did & a tradition of short fasts twice weekly in Judaism.
        The fasting asked for by YHWH is to release captives and aid the poor…..not be a religious pious hypocrite who for a day or two a year in pretense meditates on the spiritual state without transformation occuring.

        That can take many forms on the Sabbath too but I am sure Abba doesn’t describe it as idle self centred talk.
        So perhaps the whole idea of a day of worship before YHWH as rest…. is a day to rest from worldly conversation which is in effect turns your back on seeking the presence of Abba who strengthens us to perform the Righteous Fast of aiding others.
        Maybe that style of ‘fasting’ is well in order to actually experience spiritual refreshment?
        That is how I perceive it.
        Thankyou Steve for your comment which made me reread the instruction and meditate on it again.
        Blessings & Shabbat Shalom FJ

      • Hi Steve.
        My understanding of Isaiah 58 is this:
        People often fast in addition to prayers, hoping that Elohim will take notice and help them with their various problems etc.
        But Elohim tells them He does not care about their fasts unless they also treat their workers right, help the poor etc.; only then will Adonai answer when they call on him. And He goes on to say that if you hold back your foot on Shabbat …………I will make you ride on the heights of the land…..
        It doesn’t seem to me that its necessarily about the Day of Atonement, but about any fasts people want to do.
        Its obviously more important to YHVH that we treat our fellow men right and also keep His Shabbat properly than fasting.
        Shalom to you,

    • Yes, and it is not about what you cannot do but rather about what you don’t have to do, such as work. Sabbath means rest and it has Daddy’s name in it=ABBA!

  3. Hi Carroll, I agree with your posts. Thanks to the calling of the Father (John 6:44) I’ve been keeping the sabbath and holy days since 1996.

    • Thanks David, all glory to YHVH! It might be of interest to you to check out what happened during the French revolution when they tried to adhere to a 10 day week! Utter chaos! Stay Blessed (I started keeping Shabbat in 1985)

  4. As I studied my Sabbath School lesson this week I found your blog. I was thrilled. Thanks so much for your post on the Sabbath. May God continue to bless your ministry. I admire you for communicating God’s Word to Sunday keeping Christians while you still acknowledge the importance of keeping the Sabbath.

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