Summary: Message 18 in our exposition of Nehemiah. Nehemiah called them to covenant to changes. This message focuses on the covenant to keep the sabbath day.
Chico Alliance Church
Wholly Devoted to God
We continue our pursuit of the elements of revival as demonstrated in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra and recorded in Nehemiah's journal.
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Committed to a life of discipline by the Word
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Committed to a life of whole devotion to God
Committed to a life of decicated resources
This message explores the commitment to keep the sabbath.
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Psa 63:1-3
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psa 42:2
Where does one go to develop this kind of passion for God?
How do we cultivate such a relationship?
I am convinced that passion for God is inseparably linked to time with Him.
The Jews resolved to spend that time.
They committed to keeping a Sabbath, to honor a special time for the Lord instituted by God because He knew the weakness and need of the human heart.
MEANING OF THE SABBATH
In the wilderness walk, God introduced the principle of a Sabbath rest. His initial instruction came in connection with the provision of "MANNA" along the wilderness journey. He showered food from heaven enough for 3 million plus people. On each day of the week appeared manna enough for that day. Twice as much was provided on Friday so that full attention and energy could be expended in worship and service to the the Lord on the Sabbath.
The predominant theme is "rest". The source is the Lord. He will provide if we obey. Of course there were some who thought that they knew better and tried to do it their own way. They emerged in the morning to gather breakfast only to find that the Lord meant what he said. Isn't it interesting how the rebellious heart is determined to go when the Lord says, "Stay!" and stay when the Lord says, "Go!" If we will only settle the priorites, God will take care of our provisions.
In Exodus 20 we have the official commandments concerning Sabbath keeping.
The theme once again is rest. They are to set aside one special day in honor of the Lord. The entire day was to be considered a special day in the week. We are provided here a clue as to the foundational reasoning behind the Sabbath. 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. Exo 20:11
God Himself rested on the seventh day
God declared it to be a special day
The Sabbath celebrates the fact that God is the source of all life.
The Jews were continually invited to remember this special day set aside to celebrate their Creator.
Exodus 31 adds that this celebration is a special sign, a friendship ring declaring that:
God is the source of life.
God is the LORD who sanctifies.
Here God adds a word about consequences:
Death for desecrating it.
Isolation for failing to observe it.
Again the basis is God's pattern at creation.
Exodus 35 stresses again the fact that the Sabbath is in honor of the Lord.
Leviticus 16 pictures the Sabbath celebration as a day of self-denial for the Lord.
Leviticus 19 reminds that it is a day to remember to turn God as the Creator, the only source of life and not to idols.
Leviticus 23 adds the concept of special assembly on that day. It is a rest, a day given to celebrate the Lord. Special offerings are brought, self-denial is reaffirmed, consequences are restated.
Deuteronomy 5 adds a new basis for celebration God has commanded to observe the Sabbath because he redeemed them with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm from slavery in Egypt.
Later the entrance into the promised land is pictured as a Sabbath rest. Isaiah 56 promises blessing upon all who celebrate a sabbath to the Lord whether Jew or foreigner. Isaiah 58 is a classic passage on practicing fasting and observing the Sabbath. Here God gives the conditions of a proper Sabbath celebration and the blessings to follow.
Keep from breaking the Sabbath (failure to remember)