2015-02-01 - The Fourth Commandment
How can We Honor a Day? Should we?
Now I think we need to spend some time reviewing the principles involved here, and ask how and why we should specifically set aside the Lord’s Day? First, should we? Second, assuming we should, how do we?
We can see that while we are not called to keep the Sabbath, we are called to keep the Sabbatic principle. We are to set aside a day of rest. This is another of God’s universal standards. And one other point that should be made is, while the church at large does worship on Sunday, some are unable to - and so their Sabbatic principle would require setting aside another day.
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord” (Romans 14:5-6 ESV).
Today the idea of a day away from the routine is almost laughable. The majority of working people work five days a week, and in some cases only four - so most have their day of rest. But for some, this commandment clearly stands in condemnation of those who work seven days a week and sixteen hours a day. We are not created to be able to do this.
What is more important than a day of rest, is a day set aside to honor the Lord. This is vital. The focus needs to be on Him. By the way, for the housewife and/or mother, husbands take note: They also need a day away from the routine, and this may mean making changes in the way things are done, so this can happen. We need to rethink the way we demonstrate to our children the importance of a day, not a couple of hours, given to the Lord.
What are some methods by which we can make sure we get a day of rest? Do you think there can be a difference between a day of rest and a day set aside to honor the Lord? What if you have to work on Sunday? I don’t think rest means necessarily the absence of doing anything ,because we can feel rested from doing something different. What effect do you think our culture has on these issues? What are some ways we can really establish the principles of a time to honor the Lord in our lives? How does this relate to the issues we have already discussed, of personal worship?
As you can see, these questions can step on a number of toes. How many of our views on these issues are created by our upbringing - as opposed to the teachings of Scripture? I think there is much to be said for a Jewish approach, of really trying to set aside the day as one of honoring the Lord, and holding to a minimum, the necessary work. The day was spent in corporate, personal and family worship. What can be more refreshing than a day spent in focusing on the Lord? Why not skip the family dinners that are just a lot of work. Take the time to focus on the Lord and one another ;have a time that is quiet - not rushed, as it is during the week.
Because of our approach to “worship,” Sunday is often a day of just rushing around and feeling harried, even in God’s service. We need to make sure that our focus is on Him, not just programs. In addition, even for those who are at church from 8:00 to 12:30, there is still a twenty-hour day left over, for rest and contemplation.
Another thought is: What better way to start the week, than with the Lord? Remember Monday is the second day of the week As you can see, I think there are no fixed ways that we are to follow this command. Remember that Christ is the one who said: “…The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 ESV). The important focus, though, is the day of rest is to be a day of restoration, and it is God, and time with Him, that is the true restorative.
Now we have seen a number of ways that we can honor the Lord’s day. Can you see some changes you want or need to make in your life, to really set aside The Lord’s Day? What can you do, this very day? Let’s check back next week, and over the coming weeks, to see if there have been any changes in our walk, due to a greater recognition of this Command.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”… “a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” … “not to be kept out of legalism, but out of love of God for” …“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Remember, God tells us “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”…“For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Exodus 20:8, 10; Matthew 9:13, 12:8 ESV).
For us the Lord’s day should be a demonstration of worship, and a testimony to those around us, by the way we keep it. It is in this way, that we can truly honor the Lord, by keeping His day.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalms 118:24-29 ESV).
To be continued.
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