Summary: A Study of the Names of God - Jehovah Mekoddishkem ¡V The Lord who Sanctifies You
Getting to Know God ¡V Jehovah Mekoddishkem ¡V The Lord who Sanctifies You ¡V Ex 31:12-18
In 1981, the Movie Chariots of Fire, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This Hollywood film told the true story of a devout Christian, Eric Liddell. He was a world class athlete and I want to show you a clip from the film. Eric has just decided he must forteit his chance to run in the 200m sprint in the 1924 Paris Olympics because the qualifying meet will be held on Sunday. His coach, the Prince of Wales and the England Olympic committee, try to convince him to change his mind but ¡K
Eric Liddell had a conviction that keeping the Sabbath was holy. He believed that for him to run on Sunday would be violating the Biblical commandment to keep the Sabbath Holy. Some of us in the room would probably not agree with Eric¡¦s stand. Today, most Christians (myself included I must admit) see Sunday as a holiday instead of a holy day. Yes it is the day we go to church, but after that, the rest of the day is ours to catch up on that little bit of work around the house, go and play some sport, spend time with the family, etc. I am not saying any of these things are wrong in themselves, but this morning I want to pose the question of How important is the Sabbath? And what did God intend the Sabbath for? By doing so, hopefully we can all get some direction on how we should be spending our Sabbaths.
In the passage that was read by Helen ¡V Ex 31:12, we read that the Lord commanded Moses to say to the Israelites ¡§You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.¡¨
Here is another one of the names of God and if you have been around for the last couple of months, you know that I¡¦ve been slowly moving through the names of God. Well here is another Jehovah Mekoddishkem. A bit of a mouthful isn¡¦t it. It means the Lord who makes you holy or the Lord sanctifies you. . Today we will see how that is connected to the idea of the Sabbath.
Let¡¦s pray before we begin.
The Origin of the Sabbath Concept
Well where do we start? The word Sabbath is from a hebrew root that means to Cease or Stop. It has the connotation of stopping what we are doing. And what is that you may ask?
The first mention of Sabbath in Scripture is in Ex 16:23. The Israelites have just been led out of slavery and they are hungry in the desert. God wonderfully provides for them food in the form of manna and quails and here the instructions are being given to the Israel about the use of this food. Ex 16:23In
23 He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: `Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’ " 24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 "Eat it today," Moses said, "because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any."
Every day the people were to gather enough food for that day, but the Sabbath was a different day ¡V the ordinary, everyday chores were not to be done. It was to be a rest day, a holy day to the Lord.
It is an interesting practice to just adopt ¡V Resting on the seventh day. I¡¦m quite sure in days of slavery, there were not many rest days. There is also some evidence too that the Egyptians worked on a 10 day week, so where did it come from? It seems to follow God¡¦s example in creation, though the word Sabbath is not mentioned here..
You will remember that God created for 6 days all that we see, all that we have around us, but Gen 2:2 says that
GE 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
God ¡§rested¡¨. This is the word ¡§Shabath¡¨ the Root that the word Sabbath comes from. It means to cease from work. For 6 days, God was busy creating. But on the 7th day, he stopped working and rested. Now think about it. What picture do you have in mind of God on this 7th day. Do you see him, just popping off to the Carribean for a bit of a sunbake on the beach? Maybe he is just out the back yard of heaven in a hammock, sipping lemonade between dozing off. Maybe you picture him on his bed reading or sleeping even. What was he doing? I don¡¦t think any of us believe that God turned off and did absolutely nothing. He is God, he doesn¡¦t need sleep and doesn¡¦t get tired, so I¡¦m sure he didn¡¦t sleep. The sun rose on that next day and the new world kept functioning and so God who controls it all, must have been consciously at work somehow. God was working to maintain this world, and undoubtably enjoying his creation, but the work of creation that had gone on for 6 days was stopped.