According to Walter Brueggeman, “Recovery of the Sabbath is the most crucial and most demanding covenant command (spiritual discipline) now to be faced in the technological society.”
In the Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, there were the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets. When the priests carrying this Ark stepped into the Jordan River (Joshua 3:6), the river parted for the two million Israelites to cross over safely into the Promised Land.
The Ark of the Covenant was kept in the Holy of Holies in both the Tabernacle of Moses and in the Temple of Solomon. Both the Old Testament and New Testament instruct God’s children to “be holy!”
When asked which is the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
The Greatest Commandment is my life verse and has been since committing my life to Christ in January 2001. A careful study will show the Greatest Commandment is a summary of the Ten Commandments. The first four of the Ten Commandments are ways for us to show we love God and the last six are ways for us to demonstrate our love for people.
In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” There is a lot of misunderstanding about this in many Christian teachings. Some Christian say, “We are under grace and not the law.” There are attacks on God’s perfect law.
Many people want to pick and choose which of the Ten Commandments they obey and how they obey them. Yet, James wrote, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
In Exodus 34:27-29, we read, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”
A covenant is different that a contract. It’s permanent, especially with God. Now think about this. Moses had no food or water for forty days. Normally, it would be impossible for a human to live for even 20 days without drinking water or in some form or another. So after a supernatural fast, God wrote the Ten Commandments with His finger, and then gave Moses the divine blueprint for the Tabernacle of Moses with the Ten Commandments in the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
Are the Ten Commandments still important to God and relevant to us today? Of course they are. Is obeying the Ten Commandments important to be holy? Of course.
For centuries there has been an assault on the fourth Commandment, yet that is the longest commandment and the only one that says “Remember.”
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. (Exodus 20:8-11)
Leviticus 23:3 states “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”
How serious is it to keep the Sabbath holy?
And what does it mean practically to keep the Sabbath holy?
Busyness is a great enemy of relationships. We must address the serious problem of busyness in our lives to experience a great awakening. The devil doesn’t have to get us to do anything bad to be at work in our lives. All he has to do is keep us busy.
My father told me that when we lived in Charlottesville Virginia in the early 1960’s, only one business was open on Sundays and that was an international one. Today, hundreds of businesses are open on Sundays and people scurry around shopping. Sports and children activities have invaded every day of the week. Families have little time of solitude together to communicate.
It is not easy to take a Sabbath. You’ve got to decide to do it. A regular Sabbath puts a brake on overwork. In order to practice Sabbath, you must learn one powerful word, “No”. That little word creates the hearth in which the fires of our calling can burn brightly.
Sabbath is … an attitude of the heart which recognizes the need for regular soul care within the rhythm of daily life… Sabbath is the gift of rest, reflection, and renewal – a time of preparation at the beginning of the week, not a restoration from exhaustion at the end of a long busy week. – David Steffenson, First Lutheran Church, Little Falls, Minnesota
Father, we praise You as the LORD of the Sabbath. It’s clear from numerous scriptures that You take the Sabbath seriously. Forgive me for the many times I have disobeyed You by failing to keep the Sabbath holy. You teach that obedience is more important than sacrifice. Help me to understand and apply your command to keep the Sabbath holy! In Yeshua’s name, I pray. Amen.
Blessings of the Day
Sabbath Keeping and Sabbatical Taking
How to Keep the Sabbath, Part 1, Laboring to Rest – outstanding video teaching by Pastor Doug Batchelor
How to Keep the Sabbath, Part 2 – outstanding second part video teaching by Pastor Doug Batchelor
What does it mean practically to keep the Sabbath holy? – Youtube video by John Piper
Blessings to keep the Sabbath holy!