Our Bible verse for today: “Be careful to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy as the Lord your God has commanded you. You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work – you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or donkey, any of your livestock, or the resident alien who lives within your gates, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do.” Deuteronomy 5:12-14 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t be a slave”
In Deuteronomy 5:12-14 Moses was reminding the people of God’s instruction, originally given in the fourth of the Ten Commandments, to observe the Sabbath and to keep it holy. If you flip back in your Bible to that fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20:9-11, you will find that God linked the commandment to observe the Sabbath to the example He set for us in Genesis 2:2 where He stopped His work and rested.
Sabbath is taught directly or referred to at least 172 times in the Bible. If God begins by setting the example for us and then mentions it 172 more times, that’s probably a clue that we need to pay attention to it.
The concept of Sabbath-keeping is actually divided into two distinct parts. There is Sabbath-worship and there is Sabbath-rest. Most of us are better at Sabbath-worship than we are at Sabbath-rest. We usually faithfully participate in corporate worship services with our church family – so apparently we get that part of Sabbath, but the resting part is a bigger problem. Most of us don’t really participate in very much Sabbath-rest. Therefore most of our emphasis in this series will be on Sabbath-rest.
Why is this so important? Moses answered that for the Israelites in Deuteronomy 5:15: “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”
In other words, “You are no longer slaves so stop acting as if you are.” They were not to be slaves to the Egyptians, nor were they to be slaves to their jobs, their chores, or to their endless activities.
That goes for us too. Don’t be a slave to your job or to your chores or to your activities. Sabbath-rest helps us to push back against and to resist the endless pressure to do, do, do. God intends for our Sabbath-keeping to consist of both Sabbath-worship and Sabbath-rest. Tomorrow I will share with you the very best example I have ever witnessed or participated in of Sabbath-keeping done right.