The Ten Commandments: Number Four

2nd September

Sabbath Day Principle

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. . . . ”

Exodus 20:8-10a

Keep the Sabbath day holy

What is the ‘Sabbath day’ and how can we keep it holy? Well, Biblically or according to Jewish law, the Sabbath was and is commonly know to be held on a Saturday. It literally implies, as per the law given to Moses, that no-one should do any work or labour on the Sabbath, including livestock, servants and even foreigners living among Jewish people (read the rest of verse 10). This principle originated when God created the world. He made the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. Of course God in His supreme nature does not need rest, but rather He was demonstrating the spiritual discipline of setting time aside for rest and communion with God.

Yet how can we make time in such a busy world to take a Sabbath day? Did Jesus? Jesus often had many conflicts with the over-zealous and religious Pharisees as to what a ‘Sabbath’ looked like. Jesus was often condemned for doing miracles on the Sabbath day, which would have been classed as ‘work’. Yet Jesus’ actions were demonstrating a principle rather than a black and white rule. Of course Jesus did not come to break or change the law but to fulfil it; in other words, show us how we can practically live out God’s guidelines in our lives. What Jesus did do, was to regularly separate Himself from His disciples and from the crowds and carve out time that He and the Father could commune and He could rest in the Spirit.

Friends, if Jesus knew that taking time out to be still and rest in God was important and necessary, then how much more should we make it a discipline in our lives. A challenge for us all is to implement a ‘Sabbath day principle’ into our daily lives, to carve out time to rest and refresh in God and to make it regular. Let’s not get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to make time for Jesus.

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