COMMANDMENT NUMBER 4
Greetings precious people of Alpine,
As we have been looking at the Ten Commandments, we now find ourselves at the Fourth Commandment, Ex 20:8-11"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." The word Sabbath means rest. In giving this Commandment God meant for His people to practice the observing of one day in seven as a time for rest and worship. We read in Exodus that God gave this Commandment to the people of Israel for a sign. Exodus 31:13 "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you." This practice apparently originated in creation, because God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh Genesis 1. By this act, God ordained a pattern for living-that man should work six days each week at subduing and ruling the creation and should rest one day a week. If you do not take one day a week to rest and worship youíll become weak.
Over time, as is the case with so many other things, "religious" men changed this Commandment. There has been page after page written by Rabbis and others trying to define for us what was lawful and unlawful on the Sabbath. It became so ridiculous in Jesusí day that many of the "religious" became angry with Jesus because He healed and showed acts of kindness and mercy on the Sabbath. In Matthew 12:1-15 we read of one such instance. Jesus and His disciples were walking through a field and were hungry, so the disciples pulled off some of the kernels of wheat, rubbed them in their hands to remove the chaff and began to eat. The Pharisees saw this and became angry with Jesus for allowing His disciples to do "work" (rub the chaff off the wheat) and eat the wheat without going through the ceremonial washings. Jesus responded by saying,
"Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
What happened next in this portion of scripture further shows how distorted of view the "religious" had of the purpose of the Law of the Sabbath. Jesus and His disciples went into a Synagogue and found a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus if it were lawful to heal on the Sabbath for they wanted to accuse Him of breaking "their" laws. Jesus responded by saying, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Isnít this tragic? They had missed the whole purpose of the Sabbath. By their own rules and regulations they had laid so great a weight upon the people that the people could not rest nor worship the Lord. The most significant part of these scriptures is where Jesus makes the statement that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. He is the fulfillment of the Sabbath. He, Jesus Christ is our rest. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." How important this is in view of the heavy trips the religious people were lying on the people.
The Lord has given a day for rest and worship. In the Book of Romans Paul makes it clear that some people count one day more important than an other does, while other people count all days the same. Some consider Saturday to be their day of rest and worship, while others think of Sunday is the day, while still others consider every day to be a day to rest and worship the Lord. Paul says that it should not be a point of contention lest we find ourselves in the same boat as the Pharisees. Missing the entire reason for the Sabbath.
Listen dear ones, whether you rest and worship on Saturday, Sunday or every day donít miss the central point of it all. It is all about Jesus Christ. If it is not Him that we are worshiping and in Him that we are finding our rest, then we are missing what it is all about. Turn your life over to Jesus Christ for it is in Him alone that youíll find the true meaning of the Sabbath Rest for your soul.
Next time we will continue looking at the Fifth Commandment.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact
me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call
619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine