January 19, 2018

The Fourth Commandment

George Stiekes

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

This commandment appears to be the easiest to observe. It certainly makes sense that we would desire to stop our work to rest one day a week. However, the children of Israel found ways to change it or redefine it so that they could avoid keeping it. How do you define work, rest and holy? There were those, like the Pharisees, who defined it in such a way as to make it very difficult to keep. Others defined it in such a way that they managed not to keep it at all and it was not long before the significance of the commandment was lost.

Other passages were given as reminders so that they would not forget. Keep the Sabbath day to SANCTIFY it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee (Deuteronomy 5:12). This day was to be set aside for the Lord’s glory and it was for the good of mankind physically and spiritually. God’s people were to devote a portion of this day for spiritual purposes. Six days emphasized the secular while the seventh day was to emphasize the spiritual, holy and eternal endeavors. It was a day to honor God and this was to be a delightful experience (Isaiah 58:13).

The Lord claimed this day as special unto Himself and it was to be a holy day unto God’s children (Exodus 31:13-14). Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27) indicating that it was not exclusively for the Jewish people. To reject the Sabbath day as a holy day is to reject God Himself (Romans 14:5-6).

For today, Sunday has been set aside as a memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament saints celebrated the Lord’s creation rest while the New Testament saints celebrate a new day, a day of celebration of Christ’s resurrection that guarantees the resurrection of all those who are in Christ.

  • The Apostle John wrote: I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day… (Revelation 1:10).
  • The collection for the saints were to be taken on the first day of the week which would have been when the saints gathered (I Corinthians 16:1-2).
  • God still desires His people to rest, just as Christ when He finished His work on Calvary’s cross entered into His rest (Hebrews 4:9-10).
  • Furthermore, we are commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together until the Lord returns (Hebrews 10:25). The day of rest is still for our physical and SPIRITUAL good.

Do you take delight in meeting with the saints to worship and honor God, to be fed from His Word and to encourage one another in the things of the Lord? How much rest do you actually get on the Lord’s Day? How much of that day do you spend in His Word? If you were tithing your week, what percentage of your week would you actually be giving to the Lord? It is all His to begin with!

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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