Traveling on the Sabbath

In today’s hustle and bustle world, many of us  are often found traveling. As Sabbath keepers we should always be prepared at home and away. Let’s look at ways which we can guard the Sabbath, to help us keep it “holy” while on the road.

In the fourth Commandment, it begins, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… (Exodus 20:8). This keeping it holy applies each and every Sabbath, whether we are at home or traveling. In (Isaiah 58:13) we read, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Also, “Thus says the Lord: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.”(Jer.17: 21-22)

 The above is packed with nuggets of gold (Truth). We see that our focus should be to guard against the ever tempting carnal nature of doing “our pleasure” on His holy day. This can be a big problem in situations where one is traveling and away from their routine and customs of the home life. However, as always the Lord has made a way out for us. It’s called preparation.

As  many of us Adventists know , we regard Friday as our “preparation day”. And rightly so. This day is obviously the day before His holy day, so we basically have this day to get things prepared and ready. So let’s look at some areas where we can prepare in traveling.

1) Meals.

This probably is one of the most troubling areas of trying to keep the Sabbath holy when we travel. Obviously we can’t cook most of the time, so we cut corners and eat out. But there again the preparations should be made. Almost every area we travel in, there is a market where we can buy food and snacks. So we can load up on the goodies to eat and drink on the next day -the holy Sabbath.

Sadly some fall into the devil’s trap and succumb to eating in a restaurant. This is  a real  “breaking” of the Sabbath. The most obvious reason is the buying and selling on the Sabbath. We are also encouraging and helping others to break it as well, though they may not be aware of it. In the 13th chapter of Nehemiah we can find specific warnings against buying and selling on the Sabbath.

We need only look back to the story in (Numbers 15:32-41). There you’ll recall the Lord ordered a man stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. How do you think our Lord looks upon us, as we are profaning  His holy Sabbath much more? We should not dare trespass in this way.

2) Planned travel.

Here is another area where we must put the Lord first. When we are to plan our travel, we should be most careful to arrange our flights, so as to not travel on the Sabbath. Long car traveling, which can be laborious should also be avoided also . Yes,  this could cause a delay or interruption, but are we going to risk breaking and trampling His Sabbath in this way? Again our planning and preparation is a must, in order to keep His holy day–holy.

A while back I was in church, in the restroom, and I overheard a conversation. One man was explaining how he was going out-of-town next “Saturday” and flying out. I was amazed!  This I’m afraid, is much more common than we want to believe. The lazy and careless approach to Sabbath keeping will one day cost us if we keep it up. If the Lord stoned that man in the Numbers story, and saves us, as we do much greater  willful transgressions on the Sabbath, will He not have to apologize to that man and his family? Let’s think that through. What makes  us think we now have more rights and liberty to transgress today?

Our two great duties are —Fear God, and keep His Commandments. ( Ecc.  12:13-14).

3) Buying and selling.

Here again is a great temptation. We find ourselves wanting to buy gas, food, general necessities. We rationalize,  “We’re on the road, the Lord understands the circumstances.” Again, Friday is the preparation day when we should get the gas and buy the goodies, etc. With careful planning and thought, we can load all we need by Friday sunset and be good to go for the Sabbath.

4) Places of worship

Sometimes  in our travels there are no close Sabbath churches around. What to do? In the book of Acts there is the example of Paul finding a “riverside” to go to, to pray and have fellowship (Acts 16:13). He was apparently not near a temple and found a quiet place by a river.  So we can also go to a quiet mountain area, beach, or other remote quiet area to pray and read the Scriptures and fellowship. Contemplate the beauty of our Lord’s  creation. We shouldn’t watch worldly TV in our hotel room, or be part of any other worldly endeavor that might keep us from keeping the Sabbath holy.If we know we’ll be staying in the room for the Sabbath, we can take those long overdue naps, or pray, study, or listen to beautiful Christian music. When we indulge in knowing and listening to the things of the Lord, time goes by much too fast!

Our Lord and His word will not change.  “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4). The continual willful sinning in transgressing His Sabbath will, according to His word, cost us a price–our life.

In closing let us be good preparers and planners, thinking of honoring our Lord on His holy Sabbath even while traveling. Traveling will bring us challenges, but we can view them as stepping-stones, to exercise our devotion to the Lord.  Our Lord said the following  “Whoever is faithful in very little, is faithful also in much..” (Luke 16:10).

4 Responses to “Traveling on the Sabbath”

  1. Phillip Jackson Says:

    I have a question ,if I’m traveling by Greyhound and I still on the bus traveling during the Sabbath what should I do

    • godsloveandlaw Says:

      Hi brother Phillip, the best SOP reference I found is the following —

      “If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. In harmony with the light which the Lord has given in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, we should be more careful about traveling on the boats or cars on this day. In these matters we should set a right example before our children and youth. In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. When starting on a journey we should make every possible effort to plan so as to avoid reaching our destination on the Sabbath.

      When compelled to travel on the Sabbath we should try to avoid the company of those who would draw our attention to worldly things. We should keep our minds stayed upon God and commune with Him. Whenever there is opportunity we should speak to others in regard to the truth. We should always be ready to relieve suffering and to help those in need. In such cases God desires that the knowledge and wisdom He has given us should be put to use. But we should not talk about matters of business or engage in any common, worldly conversation. At all times and in all places God requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by honoring the Sabbath.” (Testimonies, vol. 6, p.359-360)

  2. vegaraw Says:

    I remember once I went camping on the Sabbath and regretted it – there was no opportunity to worship even though it was organised by Adventists. Some young people taking part were not Adventists and the purpose was to do an expedition and it just happened to fall on Friday-Sunday. Next time I had to say to my Adventist friend, who organised it – that I am not going if it’s going to be on the Sabbath. Since then, they changed the days of their practice, so it doesn’t fall on Sabbath.

    Another time I agreed to fly on the Sabbath to my home country with my husband, because of pressure and regretted it as well – we missed our train, it was busy in the airport and we literally came to the gate, when it opened. There is no way you can rest and worship on the day of your flight. Since then, I put my foot and said to my husband that we are NOT travelling on the Sabbath. Period.

    One time he said to me (only cause the tickets on Sabbath were cheaper or it was more convenient): “then we are not going anywhere.” I said: “Ok.” And you know what, eventually we still went – just on another day.

    I am glad I learned these lessons early.

  3. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Love that testimony dear sis! Yes that shows you are doing both of the two “duties” of man ,amen.

    “The end of the matter; all has been heard. fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.3 14 For good will bring every deed into judgment, with4 every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecc. 13:14)

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