Wednesday, March 24, 2010

1 day outta 7

8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 1011 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.

12 "Then the LORD said to Moses, 13 "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. [a]  14 " 'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. 15 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD." (Exodus 31:12-15)

23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"
 25He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."
 27Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Mark 2:23-28)

I have written many posts on the Sabbath...however, I just can't seem to escape it.  It is a topic that I'm passionate about; especially because as a pastor I have both witnessed first hand and experienced myself varying degrees of burnout.  I believe that if got back to observing Sabbath rests in our lives, then much of this burnout could be avoided.

Right now I'm reading through a 2-year Bible plan and as such, I've spent much of my time lately in Exodus.  Of course, in Exodus we have the giving of the law to the Israelites and part of that law is commandment number 4; "Remembering the Sabbath by keeping it holy."  I just want to make a few more observations...and of course, if you're picking this up for the first time, you should go back read my other posts on Sabbath rest (click here).

- When you read through the commandments in Exodus 20, notice that there are more words used in this fourth commandment than any other.  Not only does God give the command, but He also gives an explanation for it.
- As you go on reading in Exodus, this seems to be the one command that God brings up more often; (see Exodus 31:12-18 for example).
- The giving of the commandments was a terrifying, and awe-inspiring event.  That is the context for the commands being given.
- Of the ten commandments, 8 are "do not's" and 2 are "do's" - DO keep the Sabbath, and DO honor your Mother & Father.
- The Sabbath is for rest.
- The Sabbath is "holy" (literally meaning, "set apart").
- God rested on the seventh day.
- God DID do work for 6 days...and then He rested.
- Jesus gives us even further insight in Mark when He comments that the Sabbath was for man.

That last one there is least for me.  It's all to easy to look at the commandments as some list of tasks and things we're supposed to do...and in one sense, it is.  However, these commands are for OUR good...much like a Father who "commands" his son not to cross the street, or to buckle his seat-belt.  Yes, they're commands and if you break them there are consequences...but the heart and motive behind the command is for our own good.

Too often we want to place God in a box and define Him in a way that makes sense to us.  Rather, we must always read Scripture in context of how God defines Himself.  First and foremost, God defines Himself as a God of love, and that is the context we must have when we read through His desires for us (see Exodus 20:6, John 3:16-17 and 1 Jn 4:7-21 as examples).

Bottom line: The Sabbath needs to be a priority for us.  Yes, under Christ we live under the new covenant, and yes, that brings us freedom, but let us dare not think that we can ignore the 4th commandment and not suffer for it.  The Sabbath is FOR us, for our god, for our health, for our well-being - it is a day set apart and holy.

Finally, I leave you with this, which sums things up pretty well.


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