Friday, May 27, 2022

2022.05.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 20:8–11

Read Exodus 20:8–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the primary command here (Exodus 20:8)? What are they to remember? In order to do what? How much time are they given for what other things (Exodus 20:9)? What is the other day (Exodus 20:10)? Whose is it? To what does it not belong? To close any apparent loopholes, for which seven entities does this verse proscribe ordinary works? Why (Exodus 20:11)? Who set this pace and pattern of common work days and divine rest days? To which of these did He add special blessedness? What else did He do to this day?

What’s wrong with focusing on what not to do on the Sabbath?  Exodus 20:8–11 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Sabbath was in place from before man fell, because it is the day of delight for those who know the Lord as their great purpose and pleasure. 

Sometimes, we are tempted to think of the Lord’s Day as a day of resting or refreshment. The fourth commandment, properly obeyed, will result in rest and refreshment only if we find the Lord Himself restful and the Lord Himself refreshing.

As we can see in Exodus 20:8, the basic commandment is to remember and to consecrate.

First, we are to remember that it is the Sabbath of Yahweh our God. If we are moving right along in a particular mode, laboring and doing all our work, we may be forgetful when we come to a day that is not for those things. So, the first part of obedience here is remembering that the day is different.

Second, we are to consecrate the day. That is: we are to set it apart as holy, i.e., wholly devoted unto the purpose for which God Himself has consecrated it. 

We know, of course, that God needs no rest. In fact, He did not need to take six days to create. 

These things He has done for us because of our need to devote ourselves entirely to Him. Even when man had not yet fallen, the Lord gave him a day to come apart from serving in the creation in order to directly act upon the Creator Himself in service. This is what we call worship service.

When Jesus identifies Himself as the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12), He declares Himself to be greater than David, greater even than the temple. He is the Lord unto Whose worship the day had always been set apart as holy, the One in Whom we are meant to find our rest.

But He declared this in the midst of accomplishing our redemption, so that it is no surprise that He changed the timing of the day to emphasize that we are acting upon Him Who is not just our Creator, but also our Redeemer!

It is a hideous wickedness when we twist the Lord’s Day to make it about our rest and refreshment in the abstract—as if things that we find more restful or refreshing than Jesus properly fulfill the purposes of the day. Such thinking successfully exposes how profane we are, but certainly does not justify spending the day in such ways!

Thankfully, the Day itself, properly kept, is filled with the means of His grace, and especially designed to root this profaneness out of our hearts. As He promises in the new-covenant section of Isaiah, if we call His Sabbath a delight, then our delight will be in Him Himself. 

What/Whom should you find most restful? To grow in this, what must you do to the Lord’s Day? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we were created to glorify and enjoy You, and we have been redeemed to glorify and enjoy You. But Your holy day is often an occasion on which we find other things as our purpose or more restful than Your self in Your worship. Forgive us! And grant unto us the ministry of Your Spirit to make us find You Yourself as our great purpose and You Yourself as our great rest and refreshment in Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP118D “Now Open Wide the Gates” or TPH153 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

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