Commandment four: Obey the Sabbath by keeping it holy.
When I was a baby Christian I was very confused about this commandment. The Israelites Sabbath didn’t align with the Christian Sabbath – I wondered why. And on the day we called the Sabbath – Sunday – I lived in a state that helped us follow the commandment by legislating that pretty much everything had to be closed on Sundays. It was all so very confusing.
What I love TODAY about this commandment is the provision I find in it. God commands that this rest day is to be for EVERYONE – including servants, livestock and any foreigners living among us.
Oh what a beautiful provision God makes for those who often labor so long and hard without much consideration. God is valuing rest not only for the Israelites, but for the foreigner. He is not only making provision for the bosses, he is providing respite for the servants.
This attitude is extremely crucial for us to understand and creatively apply. I have a kid who is given no sick days at work. If this person is sick and has to miss work, there is no payment provision. (Look, I get it that people shouldn’t abuse sick days, ok? I’m just saying if you work in an environment that actually might increase the likelihood that you are going to catch colds and bugs, well, I think a few sick days per year with paid leave is not asking too much.) I personally wonder if this is a misuse of the spirit of the commandment that requires all of us rest – even the lowly servant nanny. Hypothetically speaking of course. My bottom line point is this: the commandments are there to be helpful to God’s people, not restrictive or punitive.