DayBreaks for 2/28/18: Two Stories, One Command
From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:
Nearly everyone in America at one time or another has at least heard of the Ten Commandments even if they didn’t grow up in a church where they had to memorize them. A smaller number could tell you that the 10 commandments are found in the book of Exodus and that they were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. But still fewer realize that the 10 commandments are repeated again in Deuteronomy.
As you would expect, the two lists are virtually identical – virtually, but not perfectly. One of the most significant differences is found in the command about observing the Sabbath. Here, in a nutshell, is the difference: in Exodus, the command is tied to the fact that God rested after creation, and that we are to do likewise. We spend 6 days a week being creative and then we need a rest. God modeled it for us – and although He didn’t need the rest, He knew we would, so He gave us an example of what to do. Rest – guilt-free.
But in Deuteronomy, the reason for observing the Sabbath, the motivation, if you will, is not rooted in creation, but in deliverance from Egypt. God essentially says, “You were slaves but you have been delivered and set free. You are slaves no longer. Take a day each week to remember that – to remember what it was like when you were enslaved – the quotas, the inability to choose when you would work or where you would work, remember the whips of the taskmasters and the merciless, endless demands and ridicule. That’s all behind you now, so remember what I’ve done by setting you free.”
You may feel that you aren’t tired enough to need a Sabbath for rest. I seriously doubt that it’s true – and God certainly thought it was and is necessary. It’s interesting that the only case where we have a “for sure” violation of the Sabbath involved a man who went out and gathered firewood on the Sabbath. Like the woman taken in adultery in the NT, this man was brought by his accusers to Moses, who entreated of God about what should be done. God said, “Kill him.” Sounds to me like God takes the observance of the Sabbath as something pretty serious, doesn’t it?
So, maybe you think you can let a time of restful reflection slide because you’re not very tired. But have you been delivered and set free from your taskmasters: sin, shame, guilt? Then take the time to stop from your ordinary routine and observe the Sabbath out of thankfulness for your deliverance! And don’t ever go back to slavery like that again.
PRAYER: Thank you for giving us rest and deliverance! May we honor You with our stilled hearts and spirits regularly! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.