The drama goes on. You know, all that stuff about whether Katelynn, my eleven year old, can wear make-up. I have come to a tentative conclusion and it has to do with the fourth commandment. We will get to that in a moment.
Some people need to take a sabbath rest from going church. Just hang with me. I will get there too.
I don’t know about you, but I love Chick-fil-a. It is our families favorite place to each on a dime (or so). My youngest, Zach, is made purely of Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. It is amazing what the body can turn those two into. Chick-fil-a is not open on Sundays, so Zach justs practices his 3-year-old fast that day. I admire Chick-fil-a for not being open on Sunday. I think it is one good application of what it means to keep the Sabbath and make it holy.
For most people that I know, the obligation to keep the sabbath is either seen as null-and-void in the church age or it simply means that we “go to” church. If you hit Sunday School and “big church” you have done double duty! However, I don’t believe this captures the essence of the fourth commandment very well.
The fourth commandment is found in Exodus 20:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and 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.” (Exo 20:8-11 ESV)
This commandment is one of the only commands that is tagged with an explanatory clause, helping us understand the reason for its institution. As the Lord rested on the seventh day of creation, so also we are to keep the Sabbath “holy.” The parallel here is between “rest” and “holy” in verse 11. They key here is that the Sabbath is set apart (i.e. “holy”) as a day of rest from our labors. The term “sabbath” translates the Hebrew sabbat (שבת), meaning “to cease.”
As I said before, many people believe that this is the only one of the Ten Commandments that does not have an abiding moral principle, being completely fulfilled in Christ. While I agree that Christ is our Sabbath rest (Heb. 3:9-11) in that he fulfilled the Law and we have rest from our labors, I don’t think that Christ’s fulfillment takes away from the principles being expressed that are truly eternal. We still need to take breaks . . and a whole lot more.
Christ made it clear that the Sabbath was created for man (Mark 2:27). Paul makes it clear that no one is to become legalistic about when we take a sabbath (Col. 2:16).
Today, in our industrialized world, we have much more opportunity for rest then did the Israelites in the Old Testament times. Their labor was a sweaty field labor. Most of the time it was hand to mouth. As well, it lasted from sunrise to sunset. And we think we have it hard! For them the dictum was: “Don’t work today, don’t eat today.” It was that simple. In our western world, we normally work from 8am-5pm and take two days off! Continue Reading →