Sunday, March 18, 2018
Read Exodus 20:8-11 (The 4th Commandment)
8“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but 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. 11For 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.
A demand… or should we just say “thank you”?
Here are a few of the misinterpretations I’ve encountered: So, I have to go to church to be a Christian? So if I don’t go to church, I’m going to hell? And the answer is …. NO. It is not another demand for performance, but an opportunity to be free.
The question is not do I “have to,” but rather, do I really have the privilege to take a day of rest? We are invited to rest and rejoice in the Lord with our friends, family and co-workers, not to demand work from ourselves or others. To demand such is burdensome.
This command was given to the ancient people of Israel who just came out of Egyptian slavery. They were forced by Pharaoh to labor, making bricks with their bare hands seven days a week. After 400 years of these brutal conditions, it was ingrained in their work ethic to bust it 24/7 or suffer the consequences of a ruthless tyrant.
God has set us free from tyranny. He is saying to Israel, and to us, labor six days and then you and all your family have the privilege of a day of rest, with each other and with me. I am not a tyrant, but a Father who loves you. I want you to learn to trust that I will provide for you and I will take care of you. It’ a “wow moment” for Israel to have the freedom to rest.
For Israel, it was both a tremendously welcome turn of events, but also a leap of faith. They had not received/enjoyed this privilege in years. Maybe we take it for granted and turn an invitation into an onerous obligation. Maybe for us, the Lord’s Day is exercising faith in resting – acting on His invitation to slow down, sit with our Father, and be encouraged in the company of His children. Maybe we should just say thank you, and rest.
Father, thank you for rest, for freedom and for the promise to provide all we ever need. AMEN.