HALLOW THE SABBATH
When I was a small boy, eight or nine years old, I asked my mother a question as we drove home from church on Sunday morning. I asked her why the days of the week were set up the way they were on a calendar, if we were going to church on the Sabbath. I said that God rested on the seventh day and that was the day they went to church in the Bible, so why was the calendar changed. My mother asked me what I meant. I commented that if God rested on the seventh day, then why do we say the days of the week with the seventh day first. I said instead of saying them (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday), shouldn’t we say them (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)? It seemed to me that if God rested on the seventh day then we should fix all the calendars in the world to correct them so that Sunday would be reflected as the last day of the week. She told me that was the way it was, and not to worry about it.
As I grew older I still wondered about this from time to time, but it wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I really started to question why Sunday was not listed as the seventh day. Silly me. Do you know what I found out? Sunday was not listed as the seventh day on any calendars because it was not the seventh day of the week. Sunday was the first day of the week. Lo and behold, Saturday was the Sabbath. This couldn’t be right. I had been raised as an umpteenth generation Christian and we always went to church on Sunday. This didn’t make sense at all. Everywhere I read in the Bible said that Jesus worshipped on the Sabbath, as did everyone else that was mentioned. There had to be a mistake somewhere here. I was doing my best to live the way I should, but was I intentionally breaking one of the laws of the Ten Commandments. No way. I was a spirit-filled, Jesus loving, God fearing child of God. How could I be breaking the law? What did Jesus say about it? Surely he had been the one to make the change, wasn’t He? Well, I finally found out the truth of the matter. In the Book of Matthew, chapter five, Jesus (in red letters) opened my eyes. In verses 17 to 20 He identified my question of why one of the Ten Commandments had been changed. It reads like this.
17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now wait a minute. What does Jesus mean when He says He didn’t come to destroy the Law and that one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law? This sounded like He was saying that none of the Ten Commandments had been changed. But surely no man had the courage to just up and change this on his own, did he? Surely no one was breaking the least of these commandments, and definitely not teaching anyone else to break them, were they? Just because I took my children to church on Sunday, or my friends and neighbors to church with me on Sunday, didn’t mean I was breaking the Law, did it? Or, did it? I had an uneasy feeling that all was not quite well in Mudville this particular day. Had mighty Craig struck out? Was I wrong? Had I taught my children wrongly and had I been wrong? I know God doesn’t just want us two hours per week. I know He wants us twenty-four hours every day. So does it matter to God what day we go to church. It seems to me that if we are going to church three or four times a week, does it matter to God if we go on Saturday. I believe His Word says for us to Honor and keep His Sabbath.
My prayer is that God knows my heart and forgives me if I lead my family astray. Help me to lead and guide my family in Your truth. Many people say the reason we go to church on Sunday is because Jesus arose on the third day, which was Sunday. I believe if we search the Word of God very closely, all the answers will be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. But for now, I am going to try to keep the Lord’s Sabbath and teach all that are mine to do the same. Rest on the Sabbath from the busy cares of this world, and spend time with friends and family sharing the Lord. God will honor our spending the Sabbath with Him and we can always use the rest. I love You Lord.
19 Thus the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;
20 and say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates.’
21 Thus says the Lord: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
22 nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
23 But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.”
24 “And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,” says the Lord, “to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it,
25 then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, accompanied by the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever.
26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the Lord.”
27 “But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”