Deuteronomy 5:12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.”
Deuteronomy we get a run down on the Ten Commandments a second time. The first was back in Exodus 20, and we heard
about them then as if we were listening in at the smoking, shaking foot of
most part, the rendering is the same as in Exodus, but there is one
change. Both places command that the
Sabbath be observed as a day set apart, a command that was unique to the law codes
at that time. But here in Deuteronomy,
the reason for keeping the Sabbath has changed.
In Exodus, the rationale for keeping the Sabbath was that God created
the world in six days and rested on the seventh. In Deuteronomy, that is not mentioned. Instead it says, “Remember that you were
So, which thing did God have in mind? I think it is both. In this 24/7 world, we are too harried and run down. We don’t get enough sleep. We don’t get real days off. We work round the clock and both our productivity at work and our joy at home suffers. Tossing out the Blue Laws without putting anything else in their place has not helped us any. There are still 24 hours in every day, but it feels like less. We fill every moment. We believe the world will stop spinning, our company will fold, and our children will grow up to be lazy buffoons if we should take a day off each week. Exodus says, “Hey…even God took a day to rest. If God can take a day off, so can you.” We need to hear that message in our workaholic world.
has a message that is equally important.
By pointing back to a time when
Remembering the Sabbath means thinking about our own need for rest, but it also means looking out for our neighbor and working for a society where everyone can have a day off without unduly suffering for it. Both Exodus and Deuteronomy are clear that the Sabbath is for everyone…you, your children, your servants, work animals, and “the alien within your gates.” We are called to make it holy…set apart…for ourselves and for others.
God of rest, we are commandment breakers. Help us to make a place for your Sabbath rest. Amen.
SpiritWalkers is available in audio as a podcast. Visit www.annerobertson.com/poddevotions.html to subscribe or to listen online.