Monday, Feb 12, 2018. Humans tend to spend their time with what is important to them. And they tend to let this importance become a dominating part of their life. How to structure our time seems to be a core and important force in our life … we will come to this in a moment. After the first two commandments, which tell us to put the living God into the center of our life and to keep his name holy, the third commandment is about the structure of our week. It is about how we deal with our time!
A day for the Lord …
Let us read the third commandment as we find it in Exodus 20. The Sabbath day is the 7th day of the Jewish week, which starts with what we call Sunday today. It is written:
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and 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.
There is a lot to say about this seventh day. When you look back into Genesis 1, the story of creation as told by the first biblical book, you find God carrying out creation on 6 days, but on the seventh day he is resting - and this seems to continue until today. The third commandment links our work with the work of the Lord. It puts human activity into the framework of God's eternal activity!
Good for You! …
But let us talk on the very practical meaning of the Sabbath. For humans it is crucial to take breaks from work. It is crucial to generate some distance to the goals and things we do day by day. The Sabbath generates this break. When we keep the Sabbath as demanded by the Lord, we automatically get some distance to the things which we want to carry out. We are given freedom! The goal of the third command is to give us true freedom beyond our human limits.
Here, it is important to see that the Sabbath is not only a break. It is not only a day of leasure, of sport activity or some games to play. That might be a part of this day - and it is good to play! But it is also a day to look to the Lord. It is a day of the Lord, to the Lord, with the Lord!
The seventh day is made holy. It is taken out of the usual. Here, understanding what is holy is an important part of this day, we are reminded of the second commandment, to know what is holy and to pay attention to the holiness of the eternal God, the living creator. The seventh day is an invitation, to be with God in freedom, to sing, to meet in church, to meet friends and brothers and sisters of faith, to play, to fully step into an existence of majesty and nobility with the Lord, in full freedom, in full love, in his spirit and blessing. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts