SABBATH BREAKING: WARNINGS FROM NEHEMIAH
The prophet, Nehemiah, was instructed by the LORD to warn the people. “He reasons the case with them… and shows them that Sabbath breaking was one of the sins for which God had brought judgments upon them, and that if they did not take warning, but returned to the same sins again, they had reason to expect further judgments…” Mathew Henry (ref#18, [Neh 13:15-22]).
“At the heart of Sabbath-breaking is idolatry, having other gods before the true God (Exodus 20:3). The basic…spiritual manifestation is…subtle and dangerous. It is putting anything above God: money, a job, a house, or even a spouse! If anything becomes more important than God, idolatry is committed. Thus, if in the weekly observance of the Sabbath we do anything that becomes more important to us than our relationship with God, we have broken the Sabbath and committed idolatry….We must make a very real distinction between the Sabbath and the other days. The Sabbath was ‘made for man,’ as Christ points out (Mark 2:27), but that does not mean mankind has the authority to use it for his own purposes—rather, God made it on man’s behalf, for his benefit. The seventh day still belongs to God, and He shares it with those whom He has called and sanctified. We have a key responsibility in esteeming the Sabbath in our conduct, in our conversations, in our attitudes, and even in our thoughts. By entering into this covenant with God, we have been entrusted with the knowledge and significance of this day, but we have also been warned, as stewards of God’s truth, to be very careful with it” David C. Grabbe (ref#201).
My youth was influenced by “blue laws”—no shopping, no eating out on Sundays. Our family’s church attendance was so regular that I remember with glee the one Sunday there was a miscommunication with the churchmen and the boiler was not stoked so church had to be called off. Dad never farmed on Sunday even if it was a perfect day to combine the wheat. All these Sunday-only events set the day apart making it perfect for remembering GOD.
“Blue laws, also known as Sunday laws, are designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious reasons, particularly to promote the observance of a day of worship or rest. Most blue laws have been repealed in the United States, although many states still ban the sale of alcoholic beverages or cars on Sundays” Wikipedia (ref#202).
Is there a modern-day prophet who will cry against the repealing of the blue laws? “This breach of the Sabbath was that which let in upon them al the waters of God’s wrath” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Jer 17:21]). Is there still time to save our nation, or will we succumb to GOD’s wrath as the Old Testament Jews?