Exodus 20:8-11) – 8) Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10) 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11) 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. (NIV)
The Fourth Commandment is interesting because we may have misunderstood or distorted the true meaning. So, we ask ourselves the question… are we talking about a holiday rather than a Holy Day? Is it up to us to decide? What about our busy schedules, who will look after all the responsibilities assigned to us? Is this Biblical Command applicable today?
Ever ask the question of why God took six days to create the world? My thinking is that He could have done it with perhaps just one word. Is it possible that He was giving us an example? He wants to teach us that yes, there is a time to work but on the other hand, you and I must take some time off to rest. I am told that the word Sabbath means rest, meaning that life is more than just work.
We hear and read about the front-line workers regarding COVID-19. How their long workweek can be emotionally exhausting. These folks feel their nerves and stress levels crying desperately for a change. They know if they continue working at that level, they will make mistakes, bad decisions, and display insensitive work ethics. They are aware that they need a rest, time to fuel up emotionally and spiritually.
Our bodies need rest. However, our spirit also needs a time of worship. That does not mean that we must only worship on Sundays… Mark 2:27-28 Jesus said this… 27) Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28) So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (NIV) My understanding is that there are those who must work on Sundays. Their sabbath day or day of rest will be some other time during the week. God established the priority of a special day for our blessing and benefit. God knows what we need. He knows that we not only need rest, but we also need special communion (worship) with Him.
We need a special day… When we are spiritually and emotionally refreshed, our physical being responds when we take the time to worship, Jesus touches us spiritually. He pours into our weary spirits a fresh revelation of Himself. He sustains us with spiritual nourishment. Our spirit communes with His Spirit, and we are revived. What begins in our spirit quickly moves to our emotions. Discouragement and despair are replaced with hope and joy. As we take a break from living in the world, our tattered, frayed emotions can have the time to rebound.
Religious conviction does not consist of rules and regulations. Sunday observance is important but there is a great deal more to religion than Sunday observance. If a person might become a Christian, simply by abstaining from work and pleasure on Sunday, and by attending church on that day, and say their prayers and reading their Bible, well then being a Christian would be a very easy thing.
Christ declared that human needs supersedes or overtake mere ritual and ceremony. The Sabbath was not intended to be a heartless dictator that humanity must serve regardless of the cost to themselves; rather it was given to meet the needs of people. Christ was not asserting His freedom to violate the Sabbath law, but rather He was declaring His qualifications to interpret that law when He said that He was Lord also of the Sabbath… To God Be the Glory Great Things He Has Done.
Would you pray this prayer with me? “Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive my sins. I want my life to change. My thoughts and my attitude need to change. I do not have the peace in my heart that I yearn for. I want that peace, joy and happiness that fulfills my heart’s desire. Please let the Holy Spirit help me be the kind of Christian that will honour Your Name. Amen”