Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Part 4 looks at the relevancy of the Sabbath.


Exodus 20:8-11

May 17, 2009



8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

SLIDEI’ll bet you couldn’t guess the name of the 12th president of the United States. In fact, most history books do not even list him as a president and there is even debate as to whether he really took office. Was the 12th president David Rice Atchison or Zachary Taylor?

According to some, the actual 12th president of the United States was David Rice Atchison. You see, outgoing president, James Polk resigned from office one day early to begin his journey home. And the inauguration was to take place on March 4, 1849, however, March 4th was a Sunday and incoming President, Zachary Taylor refused to take the oath of office because it was the Sabbath. As a result, under the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, Missouri Senator David Rice Atchison, the President ProTemp of the Senate, automatically became president. Legend has it, he told his secretary not to bother him since he was going to sleep away the first and last day of his presidency. At noon on Monday, Taylor was inaugurated.

BLANKIf you were elected President or person of the year and the induction ceremony was on a Sunday, at 10:30 am, during your worship time, would you go? Would you ask them to cancel it to another day? How we respond to that situation tells a great deal about our view of the Sabbath.

Of all the commandments, I believe the one commandment that has suffered the most is this one. The command by God to honor the Sabbath as a holy day and do no work, isn’t even a consideration anymore. We can use one word to describe our view, outdated. After all, when was the last time any of us observed the Sabbath.

So, is the fourth commandment outdated? Is it totally irrelevant? I think we’ve missed God’s purpose in this commandment. If you’re under 20 years of age, you’ve probably never known a time when stores weren’t open on Sundays. But there used to be “Blue Laws” regulating what businesses could be open on a Sunday. Malls and stores were never open. Stores were never open on Easter and New Year’s Day, now, there is only one day when stores are not open, Christmas Day. Stores used to close at 9 p.m., now many are open all night so we can purchase our groceries and other products when we can’t sleep.

Studies have shown the busiest day of the week for shopping at the mall, is Sunday. It’s been determined profits will increase 20% or more on Sundays. Yet, restaurants like Chick-fil-a or Dortee’s; or stores like Hobby Lobby and a few others are closed on Sunday, because it is a time to worship and find refreshment and rest in God.

Our calendars, day timers, PDAs and cell phones are stuffed with our appointments and places we need to be. We eat meals in cars, we rush to wherever we are going because we’re always running to the next place. Weekends are busier than ever, because we’re trying to cram more into less. It’s been said we try to fit 31 hours of work into a 24 hour day. The end result is exhaustion and the feeling that we are just too tired and too stressed to sleep, at least sleep restfully.

So, you wonder how did life get this way? Is this how God expects us to live our lives? Of course, the solution is easy, just take a day off and do no work around the house, in the yard, no shopping, just hang out with your family, reflect on God’s blessings and this worship. Or enjoy the day to yourself with no television, no radio, no telephone, no computer. Oh, that sounds like fun, huh?

SLIDEGod didn’t intend for us to live this way. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He said, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (20:9-10). God takes the idea of a day off from work just as seriously as He takes ‘Do not steal, lie, or commit adultery,’ but we seem to think we can break this commandment without consequence. We often brag about how busy, overworked, and completely stressed out we are.

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