Isaiah 58:13 "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath,
from doing thy pleasure on my holy day;
and call the sabbath a delight,
the holy of the Lord, honourable;
and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways,
nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord;
and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth,
and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father:
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
The Sabbath should be the BEST day of the week for the family. With careful planning during the six days of the week, and special attention on the Seventh-day, God's special day will be the best day of the week.
Letters have come to me from several persons with the request that I should write in regard to the manner in which we should observe the Sabbath. We have the Bible plain and clear upon this subject. We should not leave the work of the six working days to be done on the Sabbath. Through Moses the Lord said to the children of Israel: "Tomorrow is the rest day of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord; bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which is left lay up to be kept until morning."
The manna was as coriander seed and the color of bdellium. And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it in the mills or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it. Thus there was something to be done in the preparation even of the heaven-sent bread for the children of Israel. This was a test for them. God desired to see whether or not they would keep the Sabbath holy. The Lord told the children of Israel that this work must be done on the preparation day, Friday. On that day they were to bake that which they would bake, and seethe that they would seethe.
The word of God comes down through the ages to this time. This direction from the lips of Jehovah is for our spiritual interest, or it would not have been spoken. God would have the Sabbath day kept as a day of rest and spiritual devotion; any careless inattention in reference to this is displeasing to Him.
Keep holy the Sabbath day at whatever sacrifice to yourself. Never allow the holy day of the Lord to be disregarded by yourselves or by your children. All through the week keep the Lord's holy Sabbath in view; for that day is to be devoted to the service of God. It is a day when the hands are to rest from worldly employment, and when the soul needs to receive special attention.
From the very cradle the children are to be educated, and right impressions given to their mind. They are to be instructed in regard to the knowledge of God and His holy commandments. The first lessons impressed upon the child are never forgotten.
Then search the Scriptures, parents. Be not only hearers, be doers of the word. Meet God's standard in the education of your children. Let them see that you are preparing for the Sabbath on the working days of the week. All preparations should be made, every stitch taken in the six working days; all cooking for the Sabbath should be done on the preparation day. It is possible to do this; and if you make it a rule you can do it.
The command is, "Bake that ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; for tomorrow is the rest day of the holy Sabbath." That day is not to be given to the cooking of food, or pleasure seeking, or worldly employment. Explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them help themselves and their parents in their preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.
Lead your children to consider the Sabbath as a delight, the day of days, the holy of the Lord, honourable. Do not allow yourself to spend the precious hours of the Sabbath in your bed. The heads of the house should be astir early. On Friday the clothing of the children, looked after during the week, should be all laid out by their own hands under the direction of the mother, so that they can dress quietly, without any confusion, or rushing about, and hasty speeches.
In the morning the family should gather about the table quietly; and it would be well if on the Sabbath there should ever be a simple, palatable meal, yet something that would be considered a treat, all prepared--something that they do not have every day of the week. Then either before or after the meal should come the family worship. This should be a service in which the children could all take a part. All should have their Bibles, each reading a verse or two. Then a simple hymn may be sung, followed, not by a long, wearisome prayer, but a simple petition, telling the Lord in the simplest manner their needs, and expressing their gratitude for God's mercies and blessings.
On the Sabbath, parents should give all the time they can to their children, that they may make it a delight. I have seen many families where father, mother, and the older members of the household take themselves away from the younger children, and leave them to amuse themselves the best they can. After a while the children become weary and go out of doors, and engage in play or some kind of mischief. Thus the Sabbath has no sacred significance to them.
In pleasant weather parents can take their children out for a walk in the fields and forest, and talk to them of the lofty trees, the shrubs, and the flowers, and teach them that God is the Maker of all these things. Then teach them the reason for the Sabbath,--that it is to commemorate God's creative works. After working six days, He rested the seventh, and blessed and hallowed the day of His rest. Thus the most profitable instruction can be given.
The sweet story of Bethlehem can be repeated. Present before them Christ as the babe in Bethlehem, a child obedient to His father and mother, a youth industrious, and helping to support the family. Thus you can teach your children that Christ was a child like themselves, and that He knows the trials and perplexities, the temptations, the weariness, the joys, and the happiness of youth. Read them the interesting stories in Bible history. Thus the day to them will be the best of the seven.
If you would train your children to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, you must do it by precept and example. The deep engraving of truth in the heart is never wholly effaced. The impressions made on the heart in early life are seen in after years. They may be buried, but they will seldom be obliterated. Teach your children that the commandments of God must become the rule of their life. Circumstances may occur to separate the children from their parents and from their home, but the lessons of instruction given in childhood and youth will be a blessing to them throughout their lifetime. —Mrs. E. G. White. Bible Echo, February 13, 1899