The Healing Power of the Sabbath

Week Forty-Two: Jeremiah 1–3; 7; 16–18; 20

Jeremiah was a prophet during the same era as Lehi. Both of these prophets warned the remaining Israelites that God would hold them accountable for their sins. The Kingdom of Judah could not hide their sins any more from the Lord nor would they find safety, but certain future destruction.

Jeremiah said, “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.”[i]

The Israelites were not enjoying nature in the groves by the green trees upon the high hills.[ii] Instead, it was where the Phoenician goddess Asherah or Ashtaroth was worshipped. These altars had become Israel’s altars, rather than the Lord’s altars of His Holy temple. The Israelites had sacrificed their children to the god Moloch and the horrors of this rite would be engraved forever on the memory of their posterity. [iii] These other gods had become the gods of Judah and these gods had indelibly marked Israel’s soul as if with the point of a diamond.

Because of their rejection of the Lord as their God, the Lord would allow Israel’s enemies to conquer them, taking them away from the promised land, and the once chosen people of the Lord would become slaves to their enemies.

In his teachings, Jeremiah contrasted the difference between those who trust in the flesh or the things of this world versus those who trust in the Lord, follow the Lord’s ways, and have hope in Him.

Jeremiah taught: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.”[iv] Jeremiah analogized this kind of man to a tree or heath[v] that tried to live in the desert or a parched, salt land, which only kills vegetation and is uninhabitable.

In contrast, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”[vi] This person was like a tree planted by water that can spread its roots so that when heat and drought come, the tree is not affected and does not cease from yielding fruit, even during these hard times.[vii]

How can we become people who trust in the Lord, rather than trust in the world?

Jeremiah gave us a two-part test to see if we are trusting in the Lord. First, search your heart to find out what is most important in your life. You can find out what that is through your actions. What do you spend your time doing, especially your free time? Is your “go to” place Instagram or the scriptures? Where does your mind wander when your thoughts have a break?

Jeremiah quoted the Lord saying: “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”[viii]

Second, analyze how well you keep His Sabbath Day. The Sabbath day is a gift from the Lord; it is one day before the work week begins to heal from the world. A test to see where our heart lies is to determine how well we keep His Sabbath day.

As a reminder to the Kingdom of Judah, the Lord told Jeremiah to stand at the city gates of Jerusalem and tell all who entered those gates: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day….”[ix]

Jeremiah’s words also carried a promise and a curse. The promise was that if the people inside the city gates would “hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein”[x] then Jerusalem would become a place where kings, queens, princes, and princesses reigned upon the throne of David and Jerusalem would remain forever.[xi] But if the people would not keep the Sabbath Day holy within the gates of Jerusalem, then there would be a fire at the gates of Jerusalem that would devour the palaces of Jerusalem and this fire would not be quenched.[xii]

As we partake of the sacrament on His Holy Day, we partake of “the fountain of living waters” which slackens our spiritual thirst and cleanses and refreshes us as we prepare for the week ahead.

Elder Ojediran talked about the renewing of our covenants through the sacrament on the Sabbath Day as being like a recharging of our spiritual batteries. He told the story about her daughter who did not understand the relationship between batteries and the power she needed to be able to drive her toy car. “As our daughter learned the relationship between the battery and power to drive her toy car, so we learn about Jesus Christ, the sacrament, and the Spirit. We need the Spirit to help us navigate through mortality as we faithfully keep covenants, and we need the sacrament to energize our spiritual being. Renewing our baptismal covenant and partaking of the sacrament drive faithfulness to all other covenants. A happy ending is assured as we prayerfully study and honor the Savior’s invitation and enjoy His promised blessings. He said, “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9).”[xiii]

Another beautiful analogy that the Lord taught to Jeremiah was that of a potter’s wheel. The Lord told Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house and watch him work on the wheels. The vessel the potter was working on was marred, but the potter took the marred bowl and reshaped it into another vessel, a more perfect vessel.[xiv]

The Lord taught Jeremiah: “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”[xv]

That is what keeping the Sabbath Day holy can do for us. We can become molded into new vessels. Even if the week has marred us spiritually. By keeping the Sabbath Day holy, we allow the Lord to reshape us into something whole, clean, and pure. Partaking of the sacrament, going to church and being with the saints, reading the scriptures, praying, talking about the gospel with our families and loved ones, all of these activities will mold us into something greater than anything else we can do on our own.

Sister Camille Fronk reminded us: “No one can tell you just how your life will evolve, nor how to avoid misfortune…. There will be surprising turns that we never could have anticipated. The Lord is in control. He is the Potter…. You are the clay – and as such you are of utmost importance to the Lord. He loves you and desires to shape you into a magnificent vessel of honor – designed and glazed for all eternity.”[xvi]

Our Sabbath worship is a time for us to say, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.”[xvii]

May we find joy in the Lord this week as we worship Him on the Sabbath day and become healed from the world.

[i] Jeremiah 17_1-2

[ii] Jeremiah 17:2

[iii] Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament.

[iv] Jeremiah 17:5

[v] Jeremiah 17:6

[vi] Jeremiah 17:7

[vii] Jeremiah 17:8

[viii] Jeremiah 17:10

[ix] Jeremiah 17:21-22

[x] Jeremiah 17:24

[xi] Jeremiah 17:25

[xii] Jeremiah 17:27

[xiii] Adeyinka A. Ojediran, “The Covenant Path: The Way to Eternal Life,” GC April 2022.

[xiv] Jeremiah 18:1-10

[xv] Jeremiah 18:6

[xvi] Camille Fronk, “Lessons from the Potter and the Clay,” BYU Speeches, March 7, 1995.

[xvii] Jeremiah 17:14

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