Readings Exodus 31
Can you tell what day it is by this picture?
By looking at my life, should you be able to tell what day it is?
(By the way, this is just a random picture. I like pelicans!)
Being away from home, it is easy to forget what day it is. When we do not have a schedule of working hours, one day seems to blend into another. Today we enjoyed watching two members of our extended family try a pancake challenge. They had to try to eat six huge buttermilk pancakes, the size of someone’s head. No, they couldn’t do it, but it was fun watching them try it. It didn’t matter what day it was, as my Father-in-law said before they started, “It is impossible!”
We read in Exodus about a special day that the Israelites were to remember. It had very special meaning and purpose at that time. There is controversy today among many on how it should be observed today, or should it be observed. Here are just a few references to it, including from today’s passage in Exodus 31.
Exodus 31:12-17 (NASB95)
12 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
14 ‘Therefore you are to observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
15 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death.
16 ‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’
17 “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”
Genesis 2:1-3 (NASB95)
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Colossians 2:16-23 (NASB95)
16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—
17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,
21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”
22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?
23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
Galatians 4:8-11 (NASB95)
8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.
9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
Hebrews 10:1 (NASB95)
1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 4:4-16 (NASB95)
4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”;
5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”
6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,
7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
There is still controversy among many over what day of the week, the Church should gather. I had a seminary professor that believed that the observance of the Sabbath, was a perpetually binding command, as we see it in the book of Genesis, before the Law was given to Moses. Others argue that it is one of the Ten Commandments never repeated in the New Testament as others were repeated. We see in Galatians and elsewhere the truth that we are no longer under the Law, as Christians. We do not have time to really discuss this today.
So what do we do with this? Should I have not even brought it up some, if I am unwilling to take a lot more time with it today?
It is a wonderful principle that God intended for that day. A day of relief from other kind of activity, and a day to focus and be refreshed with a different kind of activity, a rest so to speak in the LORD. As we see Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, correct the Pharisee’s view of the Sabbath, and what it was meant for, we realize that it was not meant for a day of just taking naps.
I believe that each one of us need to be before God, and look at each day as opportunities to allow Him to live through us. There is not just one day for us to live differently. Each day should reflect that we are part of the New Covenant.
There is no question that with the New Testament Covenant there are some radical changes, of which the greatest is having the life of Christ, within us. No longer are we the “walking dead”, but now we have been changed into what we were initially meant for. We are now the tabernacle of God, the temple of God. Not just on one day of the week, or one day out of the year, but every day. The Spirit of God now gives us life, and is our life!
Are you enjoying rest today? Have you entered into that eternal rest? How are you spending your day? How are you spending your “days”?
Should you live differently today than you should on Saturday, or Sunday?
Enjoying my Jesus today,