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The Fourth Commandment - Part 1

Exodus 20:8-11
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy ... For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”

The first four commandments all define our relationship with God. The other six deal with our relationships with people. The fourth commandment, about the Sabbath, wraps up the first section.

The Sabbath Day is about rest. God is all-powerful, eternal, infinite, and He never grows weary. So, if God does not need to rest, why did He? And, why are we supposed to commemorate that?

Let’s start by coming to terms with what it means for God to rest. When we talk about rest in English, we are using a word that means we are tired and we need a break. Once we are rested, we can start up again, rejuvenated and ready to go. That doesn’t make sense when we apply it to God, does it?

That’s because that’s not what the Bible is talking about. When the Bible says that God rested, it means that His work was completed so He stopped. God didn’t “take a break” during His creation work. He just stopped doing it. It was finished.

It takes a while to let that sink in because our understanding of the Sabbath is different. It is exactly what I just described; a weekly occurrence where we pause our week, put our work on hold and then start it up again.

You and I observe the Sabbath over and over and since our tendency is to think of God in terms that we can relate to, we assume that the same is true for Him. It helps if we think of it this way: “God made the heavens and the earth in six days and He completed His work on the seventh day.”

Tomorrow: Why is this distinction so important to us?

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