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The fourth of the ten commandments is “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, ESV), but what does that really mean in our lives today? We know that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. We know that He blessed the Sabbath day and told us to dedicate this day to the Lord our God. What’s not always clear is exactly how we Christians can carry out the will of our Lord. It’s okay (even encouraged) to prayerfully meditate on this issue and listen as God reveals his intentions to each of us. In the meantime, here are some ideas to consider while keeping the Sabbath holy:
Spend Time Together As A Family
Keeping of the Sabbath was a sign of the covenant between Israel and the Lord: “You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come” (Exodus 31:13). As Israel kept the Sabbath set apart, they were reminded that they were also being set apart: “So you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy” (verse 13). Believers today, being under the New Covenant, are not bound to keep the sign of the Old Covenant. It’s a great idea, however, to use the Sabbath as day to join together as a family both in times of prayer and in times of rest.
Go To Church!
God instructed us to keep the Sabbath holy. This phrase in English is only one word in Hebrew. It means “consecrate,” “set apart,” or “sanctify.” The Israelites were to make a distinction between the seventh day and the rest of the week. The Sabbath was different. It was to be dedicated to the Lord. The priests were to double the daily sacrifices on the Sabbath (Numbers 28:9-10), marking the day with increased sacred activity. The rest of the Israelites were to mark the day with decreased activity-no work at all-in honor of the Lord. Today, going to church and joining together in worship and prayer helps us to honor this intention of the Sabbath day.
Turn Off Your Devices
The word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word meaning “day of rest.” The Bible specifies that this day of rest is the seventh day of the week, what we would call “Saturday,” or in the Israelite mindset, sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. God set the pattern for the Sabbath rest in Genesis 2:2, ceasing from His work of creation on the seventh day. God’s action (or, rather, His inaction) in Genesis 2 foreshadowed the Law’s command in Exodus 20:8. Resting meant abstaining from worldly work as well as removing ourselves from focusing on the world so that we can instead refocus on the Lord. Turning off our devices can help tune out the noise and clutter that could keep us from turning our eyes toward our God.
Share Your Blessings With Others
According to the Bible, every Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift to use in service to the body of Christ. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11; compare Ephesians 4:11-16). Every member of every church should be serving in some way, and every servant of the Lord should remember that it’s more than just serving others; it’s loving them: “Serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).
Take The Sermon Home With You
This is the only command of the ten that starts with the word “remember”. This could mean that the Sabbath command had been given earlier-in fact, God had decreed a Sabbath rest in Exodus 16:22-30. Or the word remember could simply mean “keep this command in mind” with no reference to an earlier directive. Regardless, the word is emphatic; the children of Israel were not to grow lax in their observation of this command. To remember this commandment is also to remember the focus of the day – it’s not on ourselves or on following the law, but on glorifying our Lord and living out his divine will. Take special care to listen to his word and to hold in your heart his intentions and meanings for you throughout the day, the week, and your entire life.SKM: below-content placeholder