Spiritual Disciplines Series
I have really felt convicted lately to take a good long look at the fourth commandment. In examining scripture I have discovered that the emphasis on this command is not about corporate worship, even though the Israelites were called to holy assembly on the Sabbath. I always assumed my church attendance fulfilled this commandment, but that is definitely not the point of number four. This commandment is specifically speaking of rest. REST. The absence of work.
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:8-11NLT
The words that stand out in the above scripture are:
God wanted His people, even the animals, to rest so they would be refreshed. And God was very serious about resting, even to the point of a death punishment for disobedience. The point of the seventh day of rest is found in Exodus 31:13 It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
Our response? I for one do not want to ignore the fourth command anymore. These rules of love were so important to Him that He carved them into stone tablets with His own finger. Jesus tells us that the most important command is the first one, loving God, and that all the other laws hinge on it and on loving our neighbor. The fourth commandment is just another way to express love toward Yahweh, our Father.
Here are some ideas to incorporate resting into your family life.
Pick a Day every week to rest.
Sunday is the natural choice, but shift workers might have to pick another day.
Individualize your definition of rest.
Will you mow or cook on your day of rest? How will you lead your children in restful activities? Is TV viewing or video games your idea of rest? How about sports? You make the rules. Be flexible. Nothing should be set in stone. Let your rest time have a natural ebb and flow that develops into something personal for you.
Plan ahead so that work related activities are finished the day before. Plan quiet family activities. Resting doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Our culture of full speed ahead from dawn till dusk can easily distract us from focusing on God and family. I would love to hear what you think of this idea of resting once a week.
You might be interested in other posts from the Spiritual Disciplines Series below:
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