Exodus 35:1-3 Sabbath Laws

Observing the Sabbath isn’t about ritual but relationship. It’s a sign of the covenant God made with Israel.

Moses shares God’s command for the Sabbath. This is to be a holy day unto Him for all time.

We discussed the Sabbath laws when God first gave them to Moses. We touched on the fact that this law was for Israel and that most Christians celebrate the first day of the week instead. Israel still adheres to the Sabbath even now as well as some denominations of the Christian faith.

When Moses shares God’s command for a Sabbath rest and separation of that day as holy to the Lord, he is STRICT with his instructions. He was quoting God though. In Exodus 31:15b God states to Moses “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.” This was told to Moses the first time he came up the mountain to meet with God for the stone tablets. NOTHING that was said the first time was forgotten or replaced during his second visit. We don’t hear God using those exact words the second time but Moses KNOWS that the earlier commands still apply.

Keeping the Sabbath wasn’t just about resting for the people. It was a sign of their adherence to the covenant God made with them. If they couldn’t keep one day separate for Him how could they ever expect to follow all His other commands? Setting aside the Sabbath and focusing on Him was their constant reminder.

Moses took God’s commands a step farther. He told the people they couldn’t even “kindle a fire” in their homes during the Sabbath. I have a question about this. Does this mean that they were bereft of heat on the Sabbath or that they had to plan ahead each week and make their fire ready for use on Friday night? Were they to keep watch on their Friday fires so that they wouldn’t go out and need rebuilding on the Sabbath? What happened if it was cold and the fire went out? Were they to go to a neighbor’s house and share his fire? How strict was this fire law? And why did Moses add it into God’s statement?

I remember reading “Little House” book series when I was younger. One of the things I remember about one of the stories was the way they observed the Lord’s Day. I believe it was Sunday and not Saturday that they observed but they took this commandment of the Lord seriously. The children were not allowed to play from sundown the evening before until sundown on the Lord’s Day. There was no work and the house was kept quiet and reserved. There was no baking done that day either. Meals were prepared the day before and served cold. The children could not wait for the day to be over. This was DEFINITELY the day that “children were to be seen and not heard” in the household.

My family lived long after Laura Ingalls time and even longer after Moses’ instructions. We did not observe the day with nearly as much restriction or probably even reverence. We did rest though as there was always the Sunday nap and the absence of school. I’m sorry to say that there was frequently the absence of church too, but that lapse never remained long term.

One thing I remember as a child though was trying to make the day special even if we didn’t go to church that day. We even had times when we kids would “play” church. We would have a sermon and song service. I remember being the “preacher” on more than one occasion. I believe God honored our desire to honor Him, even if we were only children. I imagine He got a lump in His throat watching us or at least a good laugh.

More than anything Father I want to honor You. I very seldom get to go to church anymore. I also am called upon to help with schoolwork on Sundays. Is setting aside our time in study each day enough? Do You want me to “observe a Sabbath weekly” with my husband? If so, how would it look? What would it entail? I can’t stop caring for him for a day and that honestly is my “work.”

Maybe I need to dedicate one day a week for praise and worship. That’s what I feel my spirit leaning towards. Maybe not the full day but certainly enough of it to refresh our relationship in that area. I enjoy praising all the time but it seems to be missing a lot lately. Music still fills me, just not the focused on You music. Please return that to me Lord or help me return to it. Thank You for giving me ideas. I don’t want it to get so “regimented” that it is ritual and not relational though. Maybe that was what my parents were rebelling against each time we stopped going to church.

Keep me fresh and help me refresh my husband with the praise we share too. I know he loves hearing it too. And I love when he joins in with me.

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