Summary: Fourth Commandment: How the Sabbath gives us a picture of salvation
Introduction – Why don’t we keep the Sabbath?
One “Frank & Ernest” cartoon shows Moses bringing the 10 Commandments to the people, and one of them says, “Could you make copies? We’d like to begin a loophole search”
If a Christian regularly broke the 6th commandment (Do not murder) what would you think about him/her?
What if they were constantly using the Lord’s Name in cursing, or if they had an idol shrine in their backyard?
What if they regularly broke the 7th commandment about adultery or the 8th commandment about stealing?
What if they regularly broke the 4th commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day; keep it holy, DON’T WORK!”
Anybody work on Sundays?
Not just at your job, but mowing the lawn or doing the dishes?
Do you know what the penalty was for working on the Sabbath?
We don’t have it here, but it’s given in Exodus 35:2 –
“Whoever does any work on the Sabbath must be put to death”
That’s the same penalty as for MURDER!
Of all the 10 commandments, this one about the Sabbath is the one which is most fully ignored – even by devout Christians.
Why is it that we consider the other commandments valid, but not the 4th?
Or are we all just in REALLY big trouble with God?
First, let’s look at what the Sabbath is
It was a day when NO work was to be done
Just in case anybody got the idea that the Sabbath was intended only for the head of the household, these verses go on to say,
On that day no one is to work—neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country.
Everybody was to stop working on the Sabbath.
When you think about it, it’s kind of a strange command!
Think of the significance the other commandments have to society:
Honor your parents
Don’t commit adultery
Don’t give false testimony.
It’s easy to understand how all of these things fall under the Great Moral Law of God.
But, “Take a day off”?
If you were making a “Top 10” list of laws – would this really have made the cut?
But God is deadly serious about this command.
In face, do you know what the penalty was for working on the Sabbath?
Exodus 35:2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.
The penalty for mowing your lawn on Saturday was the same as for killing somebody.
Doesn’t that sound insane?
Why would God do that?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like having a day off, but doesn’t that seem crazy!?!?!
What in the world is going on here?
I think we don’t really get a hint about the significance of the Sabbath until the New Testament.
Col 2:16, 17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Paul says that the Sabbath regulations of the Old Testament were a shadow of Christ.
That probably clears it all up for you, right?
Have you ever seen a movie that’s really trying to build the suspense,
There’s the creepy music playing.
The hair on the back of your neck starts to tingle.
And then you see, not someone or something – but just the shadow.
Maybe it’s someone carrying a weapon or in a threatening posture.
Because it’s a shadow, you can’t see who it is, you can’t see the details, but you can tell somebody’s out to get you.
That’s using a shadow to FOREshadow what’s about to happen.
Seeing a shadow of something doesn’t give you nearly as much information as seeing the real thing, but a shadow does gives you some idea of what the real thing is like.
So in what way does the command not to work on the Sabbath foreshadow Jesus?
First let’s look at a couple passages that might give us some insight.
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. NIV
Do you hear the connection between “rest” and “salvation”?
There is a similar parallel in passages that talk about the Exodus.
God freed Israel from slavery, and brought them into the Promised Land.
That is a “foreshadowing” of salvation – when God freed His people from the slavery of sin.
But you know that the generation that was taken OUT of Egypt was not the generation that went INTO the Promised Land.