The concept of leisure is promoted in the Old Testament as seen below.

I. God rested on the seventh day after finishing his creational activities. He blessed this day and set it apart as a special day for resting from work. (Genesis 2: 2-3).

2. God commanded the Israelites to observe the Sabbath as a day for rest. The Israelites had to work for six days and dedicate the seventh day for the lord (Exodus 31: 15).

3. The book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 recognizes the rhythm of life and points out that there is time for everything including leisure and work.

4. Deuteronomy 5: 12-15 looks at the Sabbath as being a day for remembering Yahweh and thanking him for having delivered his people from Egyptian slavery. Therefore the Sabbath was a day for freedom.

5. The Sabbath was a day for thanks giving. The Israelites had to bring sacrificial offerings to the place of worship as they appreciated God for His saving powers (Numbers 28: 9-20).

6. God required the Israelites to rest on the Day of Atonement (being sorry for the wrong done). This was to be on Sabbath day which was therefore a day for repentance (Leviticus 23:26ff)

7. The Sabbath was a day for fellowshipping among the Israelites. This was done in thanking God for the blessing of the Promised Land (Canaan). (Ezekiel 46: 4 - 6).

8. The Israelites were commanded to teach their children about the history as being the chosen people on the Sabbath day (Deuteronomy 5: 1 ff)

9. The' Israelites celebrated special feats during important times in their agricultural calendar For example, the feast of unleavened bread was held at the beginning of each barley harvest. This was done in commemorating the Exodus event (Exodus 34: 18).

10. The Israelites made pilgrimage to Jerusalem during leisure, as it was the central worshiping place. This was because all people had to travel to be present at the annual festivals (Psalms 120-140).

11. Leisure gave the opportunity for the scribes to acquire more wisdom which was all about life and the working nature of man. For example King Solomon wrote his wisdom literature (proverbs), during leisure.

12. The Sabbath was a day for having silent prayers, reflection and joyful celebrations.

13. God commanded the Israelites to repent their sins during their free time. This was to be done by offering sacrifices (Leviticus 16: 1 ff).

14. God also commanded the Israelites to celebrate the pass over event. This was a way of honoring Him as they commemorate their deliverance from the Egyptian slavery. (Deuteronomy 16: 1ff).

15. The Israelites took time to reflect on the wonders of the world-around them. They later came to realize that God was pleased with his creation by their beauty and power (Psalm J 4:8).

Revision Question

Explain the importance of the Sabbath day to people of Israel

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