“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from ail the work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
The above text is found in Genesis 2 and is familiar to all of us. Since our youth we have been instructed that “…the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God….’’ (Exodus 20:10). For God, the sabbath was a day of rest from the six days of creation. It is also a day of rest for us, but not in the sense that we ordinarily rest. We part from the activities of the world for one day and consecrate this time to God. This is the Lord’s Day and not our own.
We observe the sabbath by going to church in the morning to glorify God. Young People’s Society is also held on Sunday to glorify God. Choral Society is sometimes held on the sabbath, in order to sing praise to His Name. We go to church again at night to hear the servant of God proclaim God’s Word to us. After church some of us go to discussion groups for communion of the saints and to study further the truths of Scripture. This is the sabbath day as we know it and as it always should be.
“Well,” you might say, “we all know that, so what’s new?”
What I’m saying is that the sabbath is becoming more and more a day of our own and less a day consecrated to God. This fact we sometimes fail to realize because we are becoming insensitive to the command of God to keep His day holy. In Exodus 20 it can’t be made clearer: “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” We hear this commandment each week, yet some of us continue to use the sabbath to our own avail.
We use it to catch up on sleep lost during the week. We sleep late on Sunday morning and walk in church seconds before or after the consistory. The afternoon is an “ideal” time to take a nice peaceful nap, a rest “so important” that we would even skip Young People’s meetings, choral society, and studying catechism because of it. The afternoon is also a “perfect” time to take care of homework from school. One may say, “Well, studying for school isn’t work. I can leave my homework for Sunday and get it done then when there’s nothing better to do.” We have six days of the week to study, and we would rather put it off until Sunday? We seem to turn a deaf ear to God’s command. Doing school work on Sunday is the same as taking any other job home.
Another thing is that some of our people, even though the command of God is so clear not to labor on Sunday, still hold jobs which require them to do just that. Maybe it isn’t every Sunday, or both services, but can we, or may we even try to rationalize consistently missing worship services in order to work? Is there even a question of whether we should skip Young People’s or any church function on Sunday in order to work. I would say no. I would say we should watch that we don’t become insensitive to God’s commandment, or nonchalantly disregard the sabbath and regard it as merely the day to go to church.
May we know God’s will and heed His command to keep the sabbath day holy. We will be blessed when we observe the sabbath and do all things to His honor and glory. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy!