THE SERIOUSNESS OF KEEPING THE SABBATH
“If you value your lives, don’t do any work on the Sabbath….” (Jer 17:21 CEV).
“Take heed to yourselves; the Hebrew is, Take heed to your souls, intimating to us that the sanctification of the Sabbath is a great thing, where in the welfare of our souls is concerned” Matthew Poole (ref#112, p550, [Jer 17:21]).
“This message has life-or death consequences. The Sabbath is a day of ceasing from work, thus a time for physical and spiritual renewal and a gift to mankind” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1406-1407, [Jer 17:21]).
“Earth, spoiled of Sabbaths is a rapid road to hell” Henry Law (ref#214).
FINDING GOD’S PRESENCE
“It is man’s sinful nature which makes the Sabbath and its proper observance so hateful to him. The Sabbath calls upon us to discipline our lives” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).
GOD sometimes helps us get into His presence but we have to look for Him. Bishop J. C. Ryle suggests, “Arrange your time on Sunday so that you may have leisure for quiet, sober meditation on eternal things. Avoid the company that would lead you to talk only of this world” (ref#167).
It helps immensely to remind ourselves of how truly in desperate need of GOD’s help we are. All during each day we can pray without ceasing, knowing He is there to help us fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, but Sunday affords opportunity to evaluate our last week’s activities.
There are weekly activities that cause barriers between our FATHER and us. It is our first Sabbath duty to crash through these obstacles.
“…there are certain things that will stand between us and the fellowship that in turn leads to joy. First of all, there is sin—unrighteousness….If we recognize and confess sin, then there is the blood that cleanses, and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:7,9). The second hindrance that John talks about in 1 John 2:3 is lack of love for the brethren….You lose contact with the brethren, and you lose contact with God…The third hindrance is a love of the world,…You cannot mix light and darkness. The last thing that interrupts fellowship with God, he tells us at the end of 1 John 2, is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ. Obviously if the only way to God is through Christ, if I am in any way wrong about my teaching or doctrine concerning Him, then automatically I sever the communion, and again I lose my joy” Marytn Lloyd-Jones, (ref#189, Sept 18th).
THE SERIOUSNESS OF KEEPING THE SABBATH
“…the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him” (Numbers 15:30-31 ESV).
“While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses” (Numbers 15:32-36 ESV).
“This seems to be a case of sinning ‘with a high hand’—and publicly, too—so that the offender is actually executed, not just left to be ‘cut off’, which applied only when the offender escaped human detection. In this case it is clear that the man has sinned, since all work on the Sabbath is prohibited (Ex. 20:10)…The mode of his execution underlines the importance of observing the Sabbath” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, [Numbers 15:32-36]).
How serious about sin is GOD in His command we keep His Sabbath holy? Our nonchalant attitude about the Sabbath proves we are not concerned about being kicked out of GOD’s presence.
As with other situations in life we are tempted to think just time passing will again allow us back into His presence. So many things we let time heal. Can we do that with our sins? Can we do that with defaming the Sabbath?
THE TIME REQUIREMENT FOR SABBATH KEEPING
What motivates me to action is remembering a previous joy of similar activities. I have never moved myself into the LORD’s presence and been sorry I did. So each remembrance is sweeter. But time is required to get into His presence.
Preparing to take mushroom pictures is easy, however sometimes it is not pleasant doing it. While getting into GOD’s presence is difficult, once there it becomes the greatest joy. The hard part is moving myself into His presence.
“We must rest entirely, in order that God may work in us; we must resign our own will, yield up our heart, and abandon all the lusts of the flesh. In short, we must desist from all the acts of our own mind, that God working in us, we may rest in him…” John Calvin (ref#187).
“God’s rest is the rest of contemplation on the work that He has made, with all the penetrating influence, and sustaining power, and blessed oversight, that the divine contemplation must involve” R. A. Finlayson (ref#188).
“The worship due to the great Creator requires time for the contemplation of his attributes, as revealed in his glorious works. It requires time, also, to recollect all the manifestations of his wisdom and goodness in the dispensations of his Providence, and to give vocal expression to feelings of gratitude for the benefits received, and the happiness bestowed” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).
“If you are…in need of a spiritual tonic, go to the book of Acts, and there you will find this irrepressible joy that these people had in confirmation of the Lord’s promise” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 16th).