What's Your Sabbath?
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. (Exodus 20:8-11)
May 20, 2018
Today you and I will focus on the 4th commandment. It's much longer than the other three commandments. But it fits tightly with the other three commandments. Here is how. All four of these commandments reveal information about what God desires from us. God doesn't want us to have other gods before him; God doesn't want us to make graven images of him; God doesn't want us to misuse his name; and God wants us to rest from our labors. The other three commandments start with don't do something and have a negative tone, but the fourth commandment is positive. Still it is tightly connected to the other three in that we learn what God wants from us. Yep! That's right. Make no mistake about it. God doesn't want you to work like a Hebrew slave. Here is what the Lord says, "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."
God's clarity is amazing. He not only informs them, but he tells them that he did all his work and rested on the 7th day. Also, he informs them of the work he did:
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.
God took a rest. And it was not because he was tired after making the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them. Not at all. God chose to abstain from doing any more work after six days of labor. So, God took a rest!
Also, God wants his people to take a rest. God was deeply bothered that his people didn't get any days off from work when they worked for Pharaoh. Even when they asked him in a nice way to give them a day to go away and worship God, he refused. Also, he took it out on them for asking for a day off. He instructed his supervisors to make them work harder by requiring them to make bricks without straw. If that wasn't mean enough, he talked about them. He called them lazy. And he accused them of wanting to go to worship God because they were lazy in his mind. But God wanted his people to have a day off. So, God delivered them out of Egypt and brought them on eagles' wings to Mt. Sinai and their they could worship him and have a day off with the blessings of the Lord.
So, God took a rest and God gave his people a rest from their labors. God wants us to have some time off for him. I am glad you took time away from your busyness to be here this morning. You are here! You are not doing what you have been doing the last six days. You are here where you will hear what you have not heard the past six days. You are taking a needed rest. You may not feel you need one from the last six days especially if you have not been doing anything. But I believe even if you have been living the "life of Riley" the last six days you still need a rest from being "Riley." If you've been a couch potato and that's your lifestyle you still need rest from that no activity.
You need a rest, so you can realize and hopefully learn that time is critically important and that you don't have any, but God has lots of it. An unknown author wrote a poem to draw out attention to the importance of time:
"To realize the value of ONE YEAR
Ask a student who has failed his final exam.
To realize the values of ONE MONTH
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE DAY
Ask a daily wage laborer who has ten kids to feed.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR
Ask a couple waiting for the wedding ceremony.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE
Ask a person who has missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND
Ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics."
Source: The Ten Commandments by Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel)
Thank God for this insight! What do you do to give God time? What do you do to honor this commandment? You need a sabbath. We refer to the Sabbath as Sunday. That's the day Christians have their Sabbath. That's the day Christ rose from the grave. That's our Sabbath. It's our day to honor God.
We don't really value time until we face our demise. We then want to keep the doors of the church open; the pastor cannot preach enough about the goodness of God. You are in no hurry to rush out of here when you are facing your own death.
Let us be motivated to have a Sabbath in our lives by remembering this 4th commandment. Let us remember that God has given us a day off when others would not. That God gave us an example of his taking a day to rest. That God gave the Jews a day off when Pharaoh would not give them a day off.
Let us be motivated to have a Sabbath for the Lord because he has all the time. Our time to this very moment comes from the Lord. But we need to learn that God is the source of our time and that God can limit it; God can extend it; God can end it at any time he chooses. We live and move and have our being in the Lord, the Bible says.
Let us be motivated to have a Sabbath in our lives even though so many organizations schedule activities for our children on the very day church is opened and worship is available. Let us seek other ways to still have a Sabbath in our lives.
Let us be motivated to have a Sabbath in our lives even though many of God's people have to work on Sundays. Let us not get stuck on just having a Sabbath on Sunday. Focus on having a Sabbath to the Lord on any day just don't keep going seven days.
Let us be motivated to have a Sabbath in our lives because our parents tried so hard to get us to go to church and some of us took it as a negative. Then when we became adults many have chosen not to darken in the door of the church. That's is not good. We need a Sabbath now as we needed it when our parents tried to get us to go to church.
Let us be motivated to have a Sabbath in our lives because it is true the family that prays together stays together. It's an old hack-necked saying but it still has value for us trying to keep our families together.
You can start the motivation now. Just start doing it. It'll be all right. Just don't give up. Most things take a little time to take a hold of us. But we have to get started. It's much easier to keep going to church and worship than to start going to church. But you can get to the point that it's not so hard to come before God and his children and enjoy time with God and with his family. Just start doing it right now. Put this as an action item in your iPhone. Amen.