Remember the Sabbath
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MAGNIFIED: Remember the Sabbath
God knew about the immense stresses of life long before any of us were born, and He gave us a commandment to help. But as helpful as this commandment would be for us today, we've largely forgotten it. Which is funny, because it's the only one that starts with the word, "Remember."
Micah: For Christians everywhere, the 10 Commandments offer a bedrock for morality, and most people, if not all, would claim that they should act as a code for living a good life. Even non-Christians instinctually would read through the list of 10 written by God and affirm much of what it says.
Animation: Thou shall not kill.
Micah: Good idea.
Animation: Thou shall not steal.
Micah: Solid principle. Don't cheat on your spouse.
Jelly: God says that's bad.
Micah: Seems like the best practice. Of course, there are a few commandments that non-theists might consider irrelevant in light of their lack of belief in God, but certainly, Christians should affirm them all, right? Surprisingly, there is one commandment that consistently gets forgotten, which is kind of funny, because it's the only one that starts out with the word remember.
Life is extraordinarily busy, and it seems like the pace is just continuing to pick up. Progress and production are eclipsing virtues, and streamlined efficiency reigns as king. In this fast-paced Western world, it's not uncommon for people to say things like, "Today, went by so quickly that I forgot to eat." Or, "I was so busy that I forgot I had to go to the bathroom hours ago." As responsibilities pile up, and the stressors in our life begin to take over, the one thing that is probably forgotten more than all the rest, is the one thing that is actually more essential than all the rest. Time with God. To this end, God wrote the fourth commandment in Exodus 20, which states, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the 7th day is a 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," nor your shoe shine boy, nor your roomba, nor your great aunt Helen stopping in for a visit.
Aunt Helen: Hello, Micah.
Micah: Okay, Helen's not specifically mentioned in scripture, but I think we could agree that she needs a break. "For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the 7th day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." So, what is it that has been forgotten? Why has it been forgotten? And why is it important to remember it?
Man 1: Okay, everyone, listen up.
Micah: According to Exodus 20, the Sabbath day is a 7th-day rest from labor that is meant to be kept holy. This means that God already made it holy, that He set it apart from the other days, and that we are supposed to keep it that way. Leviticus gives us more insight when it states, "It is not only a day of rest but also a day of sacred assembly," and reiterates the instruction that, "this day is a Sabbath unto the Lord." We're also told in this section of Exodus that this observance is to be modeled after the example that God Himself left for us after the creation account in Genesis. God rested from His work, admiring His creation, and He considered the future work that He was about to start with mankind. Not because He needed the rest, but as a blessing, an example to us to rest, and consider Him and the work that He is currently doing with us.
In short, the Sabbath day, even though it's a day of rest from work, is not a day of rest from everything. Rather than it just being a day off, it should act as a day on for the more important work of drawing closer to God. Now, I don't think any Christian has maliciously intended to turn a blind eye to a command of God.
Animation: My eyes.
Micah: Most people are probably aware of this 4th Commandment, but they consider it a bit differently. Some might argue that every day should include quality time with God and some kind of effort to better your relationship with Him. And if that's what you think, you are right.
Man 2: You are our winner. Congratulations.
Micah: However, just like every day should be spent loving your husband or wife, and building your relationship with them, I doubt your spouse would see this as a good reason to miss the anniversary dinner you had planned with them. I think this also goes for the idea that some have that we can change the Sabbath from the time delineated by God to whichever day of the week seems best for us.
Man 2: No. Should have changed that three to a one.
Micah: God has set aside special times for us to gather with Him, not because the rest of our lives should be spent ignoring Him, but because He wants to make sure we understand how important spending time with us is to Him, and He hopes it's important to us too. Some, on the other hand, believe that the Sabbath was an Old Testament precedent that the New Testament Church didn't even keep. However, evidence that the first-century Christian church did keep the Sabbath is very substantial. If we look at how often the Jewish people were accusing Christians of abandoning the faith with regard to things like physical circumcision, which is a lot, something as big as abandoning the Sabbath would have drawn quite a bit more criticism, and we just simply don't see that.
To find out if a command of God still matters, many want it to be explicitly restated in the New Testament. However, God inspired the whole Bible and doesn't see a division in the same way that translators have interpreted it. Instead, it's best to assume that a command is relevant until you witness God explicitly changing it Himself. If your parents told you that touching a hot stove would burn you when you were a kid...
Animation: I just wait for a child to grab my handle then.
Micah: You'd better wait until you read in the papers that the laws of thermodynamics have changed before you attempt touching that hot stove years later. Like the nine other commandments God carved into stone, the Sabbath was commanded for our own good. Christ, Himself said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. But unlike the other commandments, we seem to have forgotten the good that it serves. Maybe that's because the consequences of ignoring the Sabbath aren't as in your face as some of the other commandments. There's no police, no jail time, no lightning bolt from the heavens. So, what does happen when we break the Sabbath? Well, the path of mankind has historically gone in one direction, and that's away from God. I've been on that path. You've been on that path. Our boom operator, Barry, has definitely been on that path.
Barry: I told you that in confidence.
Micah: And in a world as busy as ours, we can distance ourselves from God in record time. But keeping the Sabbath is a direct pathway back to Him. Miraculously, God spoke through history to give us a blessing that combats even today's obstacles. And by keeping this weekly anniversary, we can regularly reset our focus mentally, physically, and spiritually on God. And once we do that, everything else will fall into place. And if you're still on the fence, God has done another amazing thing, in that the built-in blessings of obeying His commandments become evident upon obedience. As David wrote, "Taste and see that the Lord is good."