4th Commandment: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
—“Remember” is a key word here. What should we remember? We are to remember that the LORD made everything in six days and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, we should work 6 days and rest one day. Note: it does not say which day should be the day of rest, just the number of days. Our modern idea of weeks was not established at that time, as we follow the Gregorian calendar.
—Another important observation: I should rest, but I should not make anyone or anything work on my behalf. The point is for God’s people to take time to enjoy communion with Him, and not worry about worldly pursuits.
—The LORD did two things: blessed the sabbath and made it holy. Looking at the Genesis account can shed some light on the significance of this.
Genesis 1:31-2:3—Was God actually tired? No! He wanted to take time to enjoy His “very good” creation, particularly the climax of His creation, mankind, who was created in His image and likeness. This was the blessing. To be holy means to be set apart for a purpose. God actually stopped doing everything so He could set apart time to enjoy fellowship with His children.
Deuteronomy 5:15—REMEMBER: freedom from slavery, or hard work/suffering. Sabbath was given as a time to remember God’s deliverance.
Exodus 31:12-17—Sabbath is a “sign for all generations.” God was refreshed—shows us we need to be refreshed continually in our relationship with our Creator.
Isaiah 58:13-14—the sabbath is a pattern for the way to live our life all the time: “desisting from your own ways, seeking your own pleasure, speaking your own word."
1 John 5:3—God’s commands are not burdensome. Rest in His work. (like in the Garden—everything was provided)
Matthew 12:1-12—It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. The question is, “Is it God’s work?” Really, that is what we should be asking ourselves all the time.
Hosea 6:6-7—The sabbath is about knowing God and being loyal to Him. This should be all the time.
Mark 2:27—Sabbath was made for man. A pattern for us to enjoy God’s blessing as we submit to Him. Man cannot actually follow the sabbath to the “T,” as man was not made for sabbath. Jesus fulfills the sabbath in that He is our way back to fellowship with God.
Romans 14:5-8—The actual day doesn’t matter. What matters is that every day we recognize we belong to God.
Hebrews 4:1-3, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”
-Verse1—Promised Land (Hebrews 3:14-19)
-Verse 2—Caleb and Joshua preached the good news (Numbers 13:27-30). The people could not enter God’s rest because they did not have faith
-Verse 3—Those in belief have entered rest. Rest is walking by faith; dumping my plans.
—vss. 4-6—Some people did not enter the Promised Land because of disobedience
—vss. 7-9—entering the promised land was a foreshadowing of Sabbath rest to come
-10-12—Resting from my works means I am always seeking to be obedient to God, whose will is made clear through His word. How can we be resting in God without letting His word search us and change us?
The 4th commandment is “keep the Sabbath holy.” This means no work. What is work? When it comes down to it, we could classify breathing as work because we have to exert an effort. The purpose of the commandment is to show us we can’t keep it. If I keep this commandment by any effort I exert, I’ve already broken it. All commandments are only doable by faith.
IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBERING: God created us to enjoy fellowship/rest with him through faith; He freed us from slavery to our own ways and burdensome work (sin and death); and one day we will fully enter His rest. Let’s be intentional about seeking the LORD by letting go of our ways.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!