Commandment #4 of 10

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 
This is the first commandment that actually deals with behavior as it pertains to humans and the effects said behavior has on them rather than god. 

On the surface it doesn’t seem to bad to suggest that people take a day off, but once we read it carefully we find that a big part of this command turns the focus back on god again, in that we are supposed to do this because god did it.  Further, it is not simply a requirement that people take a break once in a while it is a specific day that everyone must take not work.

The nature of this command becomes more clear when viewed in the context of Number 15:32-36. in this passage a man is caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath and at the behest of god is put to death for his violation of this law.  Once you read that it becomes clear that once again this law was not really about making things better for our fellow humans, but about control.  God wanted his followers to take a day off and spend it worshiping him.  In fact isn’t this exactly the mentality of many modern Christians when it comes to Sunday?

Certain pieces of law have been put into our legal system based upon this law, such as laws prohibiting sale of liquor on Sunday, but by and large this is another commandment that is largely ignored by our government.  Little wonder since it would violate the establishment clause, plus a death sentence for work on Sunday would wipe out just about everyone in the country.  In modern society it would be impossible for us to implement a common day off for everyone.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17091731667326622965 vocab malone/jm rieser

    Earlier this year, I preached a full sermon on just this one command called “This is the Day that the Lord has Made (But So Is That Other One): http://rooseveltchurch.org/sermons/sermon/this-is-the-day-that-the-lord-has-made–but-so-is-that-other-one-

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04470392187213526525 Skeptimus Prime

    I tried to listen to a bit of this before work, I may listen to a bit more of it, but to be honest I have already heard my fill of sermons.

    In any case I heard nothing there I hadn’t heard by dozens of other preachers throughout my years as a Christian. Until there is evidence of the supernatural/god none of this is impressive to me.

    I apologize if that offends you, its just how I feel about it.

  • http://thesnarkwhohuntsback.wordpress.com/ thesnarkwhohuntsback

    I think one of the biggest problems with this is that it’s so unspecific. What constitutes work? The man in Numbers was gathering sticks, probably for a fire to cook with. Is it then considered breaking this law to EAT on the Sabbath? If so, churches who have pot luck lunches are really in trouble.

    What about driving to get to church, is that work? Should we get rid of organized religion so that people can really not work on the Sabbath, because if gathering sticks is work then surely driving a car is work.

    Can you take care of your children? Or if they skin a knee or need to fed would you be breaking God’s law if you made them food or bandaged their cut?

    Even in the context of the time period this law is untenable and ridiculous. If you are going to have a law that, if broken, leads to death then I think that the law should be pretty specific about what does or does not constitute breaking of the law.
    That’s all I’m saying.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17091731667326622965 vocab malone/jm rieser

    To Snark…

    Almost all of the questions you raised I discussed in some way or another in the sermon I preached on this topic. I provided a link to it in my first comment.

    Still, I am not naive to think that two people who don’t acknowledge Yahweh’s existence would be inclined to see the sense in any of His covenant specific commands, especially one which finds part of its rationale in the Creation Week itself (Exodus 20:11).

    I have no intention of impressing you, Skeptimus. Rather I am simply providing a Christian perspective for the sake of clarity.

    vm

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04470392187213526525 Skeptimus Prime

    Ok…fair enough, but if you read around on here even a little bit you would know that I was a fundamentalist Christian for 6 or 7 years. I know the Christian perspective quite well.

    Don’t think my intention is to chase you off, because it isn’t, but I highly doubt you will offer me anything I haven’t heard, before. Hell, I was an evangelist with plans of becoming a missionary, I have probably said to others most anything you might say to me.

    I don’t mean to sound rude there, it is just that I have Christians come along fairly regularly and try to correct my misunderstandings of their theology, failing to realize that no such misunderstanding exists, I have read the bible cover to cover and studied the Christian religion far better than 90% of the people sitting in the pews of most churches.

    As far as Yahweh, its not a matter of acknowledgement, its a matter of evidence. As soon as there is evidence of his existence I will happily admit to his existence. If you feel I have overlooked some obvious evidence there feel free to present it, but if you feel I must acknowledge him merely on faith you will be disappointed to find I do not find faith to be a virtue, I find it to be credulity wrapped in a nicer word.