Ending The Sabbath
"Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest...." [Exodus 34:21]
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:.."
When Israel was given this commandment as one of the Ten Commandments, the penalty for breaking it was sure death.
When the Pilgrims came to America the sabbath day of rest was strictly observed.
When I was a child growing up in New England, there were Blue Laws which still pertained to observing certain restrictions intended to do honor to the sabbath day.
In our present age at the start of the 21st Century there is seldom talk, except somewhat wistfully, of a strict observance of the sabbath, or even of a day of rest, much less what can be defined as an holy day of rest.
We tend to drift to what is convenient and pleasing: Super Bowl Sunday when more people seem worshipful of football players and coaches than of the Lord; hunting and killing for sport used to be forbidden on Sundays (and may still be in some few states); profane TV programs and movies are nearly as common on the sabbath, as on any other 24 hours of the week; and, the idea that no one should be working is almost universally ignored, except by a few faithful.
While there are varied observances of what day is deemed the ongoing sabbath, and while numerous others of the Ten Commandments are tacitly ignored or treated with lipservice, and minor penalties which are often suspended or shortened for the over crowding of today's prisons, this one of the Ten Commandments is the one most universally broken.
In its breaking what has been lost?
I would suggest a few important principles intended for our good:
.....We have lost a reverence for God and His commandments.
.....We have lost a day intended for our own rest and worship.
.....We have lost the promises implicit in the keeping of this commandment. And,
.....We have diminished the rule of law, the Lord's law, in our lives.
Gone are school prayers, reciting a Psalm as used to be done in classrooms, some would go so far as to eliminate our country's motto of "In God We Trust" from even being on our coins, or "...under God..." from being in our Pledge of Allegiance, and claim that opening and closing prayers at public meetings are forbidden by long standing laws which have governed all our people since the signing and ratification of our Constitution.
A nation which turns its back on God in favor of play, entertainment, money and laziness, not only loses the blessings which come from obedience, but runs the risk of suffering the fate of any heathen peoples.
While none of us are without sin, all sins require repentance, and repentance requires a return to obedience.
Prophets of old called their wayward peoples to obedience. When they repented and obeyed, good things happened. When they laughed at, ridiculed, and even put their prophets to death, bad things happened.
In Psalm 100, a Psalm of praise, we read:
1"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
His truth endureth to all generations, but is it alive and honored in ours?
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