My Joy in the Sabbath! 10 Commandments Series – 4: “Remember the Sabbath Day”

Yes, I enjoy the Sabbath.  I look forward to it each week.  I rest from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.  As the Sabbath is a huge topic, there will be a couple posts about it.

We are told that we are made in God’s image, but what does it mean, “in His image?”  To me, the Sabbath encapsulates two aspects of what it means.

One reason God gives for us to observe the Sabbath is that He created all in 6 days and rested on the seventh.  (See Exodus 20:11.)

I, in celebration of being ‘in His image,’ can also rest from my work on the seventh day.  What better way to honor and worship Him then to copy Him?  I take a break, for a whole day, from my usual daily routines of work, stress, and worries.

Another reason that God gives for us to observe the Sabbath is that He brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of the bonds of slavery.  (See Deuteronomy 5:15.)

I don’t have to be a slave to my daily routine or my continuous striving to earn a living.  I can choose to rest one day a week, proclaiming, “I am free!”  Once a week I can recall that Yeshua (Jesus) told us to be anxious for nothing as the Father supplies all.  Once a week I can do something no other creature on the earth can do: I can choose to obey my God and rest for a whole day!  I get to celebrate that I am not a slave, neither to my work nor to the business and activity of daily life.

“Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD (Yehovah), sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13 (ESV)

In observing the Sabbath every week, I am learning obedience, and learning how to choose what is right.

We are given two different commands regarding the Sabbath in the two places the 10 statements (10 commandments) are given.  We are to guard and we are to observe.  Guarding is a week long process; learning to order your week so that the Sabbath will be free.  Observing is then choosing to keep the day free; a day of rest.  I call this training in righteousness that has almost immediate rewards!

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 (ESV)

God made it for us to enjoy.  I’m still learning, but I won’t give up observing the Sabbath for anything!  I feel sorry for those followers of Yeshua who don’t observe the Sabbath – they are missing out on a real blessing; missing a chance to worship God through simple obedience; missing a chance to learn to choose what is right; missing a chance to be a light to the world by simply following Yeshua; …

And missing out on some simple joy and peace in this hectic world!

Shalom,

  • Yosef

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10 Commandments Series – Intro

This is the first entry in a series looking at the 10 “commandments”.  I’ll go through all the “commandments” and discuss their meaning and their application to us today, and look at their context in the Bible.  I’ll try to keep each posting short, so there may be more then one posting for each “commandment.”

The 10 “commandments” are perhaps the greatest things ever written.  They are the only words directly written by God Himself, and that in stone.  This alone makes them special and unique and worth looking closely at.

The phrase “the 10 commandments” does not actually appear anywhere in the Tanakh (“Old” Testament).

Rather, they are called the 10 statements.  The Hebrew word used for “statements” means words or things.  (The fact that in Hebrew, the word for “words” and “things” is the same word is a hint at how the Hebrews looked at life – but that isn’t for now).

The 10 statements appear in two places in the Bible.  In Exodus 20:1-17 and in Deuteronomy 5:6-21.  Both lists are nearly the same, but the differences that do exist are quite interesting to look at.  For example, in the Exodus version, we are told to “remember” and in Deuteronomy we are told to “observe” the Sabbath.  The two different words imply different action and give rise to some fun understandings and traditions.  (More when we get to that commandment.)

Interestingly, Christianity lists as the first commandment something different then Judaism.  I’ll go with Judaism’s numbering as it frames all 10.

The first statement starts with “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Without this statement being first, there is no foundation for the following statements (commandments).  Leaving this statement out allows the idea that that there are no absolutes, as, without a foundation, things can change.  One must start with God stating who He is and what He has done, otherwise its just a list of rules that anyone can (and has) change.

In the next posting, we’ll start looking at the text closer and see what gems we can get out of it.  And we’ll start with “I am the LORD.”

I’ll close with this question for each of you reading this.  Do you have the 10 statements (commandments) posted somewhere in your house or memorized?  If not, I’d encourage you to do so.  Remember, these are the only words God ever wrote, and He wrote them in stone, implying permanence.

  • Shalom from Yosef

P.S.: I know that many people believe that the 10 commandments, or some subset thereof, have been ‘fulfilled’ and no longer need to be followed (the Sabbath command is typical of those called ‘fulfilled’).  If anyone wants to discuss that, leave a comment and I’ll start a new blog thread.

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