Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Ten Commandments Tuesday - Remember The Sabbath

I'm sure that there will be comments and discussion over this one. There are many Christians who worship the Sabbath as fervently as our Hebrew brothers and sisters, whole congregations of Christians keep the sabbath. There are also many Christians who disdain the worship of the Sabbath.

Notice that I said "worship of the Sabbath". GOD is the only one or only thing that should be worshiped, in Jesus day this was a sin of the Pharisees - to worship the Sabbath as if the day itself were a God, and Jesus took issue with that. Also keep in mind that this is the only commandment of the 10 that Jesus did not teach. On one hand worshiping the Sabbath really is a sin, Mrs WideAwakeChristian and I know and love a Christian couple who got it in their head that worshiping the Sabbath was the most important thing in their Christian lives. They left our congregation for a Seventh Day Baptist church and cut off all communications with our entire congregation. Is Saturday afternoon worth hurting all those people? On the other hand God is wiser than people (much wiser) and He knows that we need one day a week to unwind from our toils.

Also keep in mind that this is the 10 commandments from the Jewish perspective, gaining that insight may be interesting for you, personally I love the points Dennis made.

 Many people who revere the Ten Commandments don't think that the Fourth is particularly important, let alone binding.  Once you understand it, however, you will recognize how life-changing, even world-changing, the Sabbath commandment is. And you will begin to appreciate how relevant it is to your own life. 

The Fourth Commandment reads:  "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son nor daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns."

Why is this so important? 

First, perhaps more than any other commandment, it elevated the human being. How so? For nearly all of human history, life consisted overwhelmingly of work. In effect, humans were beasts of burden. This commandment and only this commandment changed all that by insisting that people cease working one day out of seven. 

Second, more than any other commandment, the Sabbath Day reminds people that they are meant to be free. As the second version of the Commandment -- the one summarized by Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy -- states, "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt." In other words, remember that slaves cannot have a Sabbath.   In light of this, I might add that in the Biblical view, unless necessary for survival, people who choose to work seven days a week are essentially slaves -- slaves to work or perhaps to money, but slaves nonetheless. The millionaire who works seven days a week is simply a rich slave.

Third, while the Bible could not universally abolish slavery, the Sabbath commandment greatly humanized that terrible institution and even helped make slavery impossible. By definition, a slave owner was under no obligation to allow a slave to ever rest, let alone to rest one day every week. Yet, that is exactly what the Fourth Commandment commanded.  Even a slave has fundamental human rights. Therefore a slave too, is a human being.

Fourth, the Sabbath almost singlehandedly creates and strengthens family ties and friendships. When a person takes off from work one day every week, that day almost inevitably becomes a day spent with other people -- namely, family and/or friends. It has similar positive effects on marriages. Ask anyone married to a workaholic how good it would be for their marriage if the workaholic would not work for one day each week -- and you can appreciate the power of the Sabbath Day.

Fifth, the Sabbath commandment granted animals dignity. Even one's animals had to rest one day a week. It is, to the best of our knowledge, the first national law in history on behalf of animals. And its benefits to animals surely went beyond a mandatory day of rest for them. People who felt divinely obligated to give their animals a day of rest were much less likely to treat their animals cruelly any day of the week.

Now, all five of these life-changing and society-changing benefits of the Sabbath are available to anyone. You don't have to be a Jew, a Christian, or even a believer in God to derive all these benefits. But the reality is that those who believe the Ten Commandments were given by God are the ones who have kept the Sabbath alive.

The God factor plays another role in the Sabbath. Just as faith in God brings people to the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath brings people to faith in God. That is why the first version of the Ten Commandments, the version in the Book of Exodus, ends with these words:  "For in six days God made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

However you interpret six days -- and many Jewish and Christian believers do not translate "days" as 24-hour periods -- the point is this. Every time you keep the Sabbath you are affirming that there is a Creator, that the world didn't just happen, that life isn't some meaningless coincidence, but that it is infinitely meaningful and therefore each of us has a unique significance and purpose.

Not bad for one day a week.  No wonder that the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. No wonder that those who have it in their lives are often happier, with richer family lives, more serenity, a community of friends, and, yes, are even healthier. You might want to give it a try.

I'm Dennis Prager.

1 comment:

  1. The keeping of the Sabbath was for no one but Israel, the Jews. NO ONE ELSE has that command. It was the Romanist church who decided that Sunday was the new Sabbath, just as they took on the priesthood also. And, no, we are not slaves to work. Many jobs require weekend work with days off during the week. For those who think that Sunday is our Sabbath and we should take that day off, are legalists. The Sabbath was not for worship to begin with, since the Jews were to worship EVERY day, just as Christians worships every day.