10/04/2015 – Deuteronomy 5:12-15 – “Take a Sabbatical”

For an audio version of this message, click on this link: http://ppl.ug/a-jwBBm1NH8/

Mark Wheeler

Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15

“10 Rules for Faithful Living: Take a Sabbatical”

October 4, 2015

Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church

We come to worship today, O Lord, some of us filled with discontent, some with fear, some with anger, some with hurt feelings. But, dear Lord, we all came here today. Empty our hearts and minds of malice and bitterness right now. Help us instead, to seek Your perfect power and presence, Your righteousness and redemption, Your Law and Your love in front of all other possible priorities, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen. 

So, this man comes into the synagogue on a Sabbath Day to call the doctor about his sick child. “Do you have a ticket to get in?” asks the usher at the door.

“No I don’t. I just need to speak to Dr. Schwartz.”

“Sorry, I can’t let you in without a ticket.”

“But you don’t understand – my child is sick and I may need to take him to the hospital. This is a matter of life and death.”

The usher finally relents – “OK, I’ll let you in. But don’t let me catch you praying!”

In today’s passage from Deuteronomy 5 (and from Exodus 20) we hear a Commandment about remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy. Remember how and why God gave us these Ten Commandments? ·

Israel in Egypt for 400 years·

Egyptian kings forgot how valuable Israelites had been to Egypt’s economy·

New Pharaoh, out of fear of the large number of these immigrant people, becomes a tyrannical power player and puts the Israelites in poverty·

God gives the Israelites Moses as a deliverer·

Moses meets God in a burning bush, and God tells him His name is YHWHI am who I am (whenever we read the word Lord in all caps, that means the Bible actually says YHWH [or Jehovah], but God’s name is too holy for the Jews to actually utter, so they say Adonai which means Lord

Moses rescues them from Egypt and they wander for 40 years in the Wilderness on their way to the Land God had Promised their forefathers

While in the Wilderness God gives these delivered Israelites a new way of living from what they had known under the power-broker Pharaoh – the Ten Commandments

Listen to the Word of the Lord from Deuteronomy 5:1-6, 12-15…. —-

Moses summoned all Israel and said:

Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. …

(1 – no other gods

2 – make no images

3 – Do not misuse God’s name ,,, 4)

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. the Lord your God has commanded you to take a Sabbatical! – You were slaves in Egypt with no weekend and no paid vacation – Now – I say – take a weekly Sabbatical!

 

May God bless the reading, hearing, receiving, of His Word, which never fails! This Fall as we have been examining these Ten Commandments, we have noted three main reasons why God gave His people these Laws:

  1. to show us how badly we need a Savior (just like the Israelites needed a savior from Pharaoh),
  2. to keep us from killing each other (restrain evil-doing),

3.                to tell us what God’s character is (and therefore as people created in the image of God, and as followers of Jesus, what our character ought to beguide for living the Christian life as we grow to resemble our Lord Jesus Christ) – sanctification How does this Commandment do any of these things? We have been asking, what exactly does this Commandment mean? And how do we apply it in Spokane in 2015?!

We could look at Paul’s words in Romans 14 (:5-8) where he says: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

And I could create a 25 minute sermon on what that means for us. But today we are going to do this sermon-time a little differently.

On your Sermon Notes page you will find a Gospel story from Mark 2 (so, very early in Jesus’ ministry). Today we will invest some time “dwelling” in this Word from God.

I am asking for two volunteers, one female and one male, to read this passage out loud. The rest of us, I want us just to listen (and follow along) as it is read.

But, today, instead of us examining the Scripture and digging into what it says (with us intently looking down on God’s Word), I invite you to allow the Scripture to examine us, and dig into our lives (as if we are sitting under God’s Word, and He is looking into our lives).

After the readings we will sit in silence and reflect on what was read. Maybe thinking through the questions on the bottom of the page.

Then, when I signal you, turn to someone near you, in groups of two to four, and share your answers with each other. This is putting into practice the belief in the priesthood of all believers. After a few minutes of sharing, I will ask for a few of you to share what you heard from those in your group.

And then, we’ll close in prayer. Are you ready? Who would like to be one of our readers?

Mark 2 23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

 

Where did your imagination stop?

 

Are there words, phrases, ideas that grasp you?

 

What are you hearing in this text (where might the Holy Spirit be nudging you?)?

If the Church ever turns our backs on the authority of these Commandments, may God have mercy on our souls. Let us worship the Lord our God, above and before all else, today and forever.

Psalm 119:34 declares: “Give me understanding, and I will keep Your Law; yes, I will observe it with my whole heart.” Amen.

Resources:

The Law of Liberty; “Unfolding God’s Glorious Law”; Project Restore, Inc; Locust Dale, VA; 2006; P. 5.

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