Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Keep it holy


“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”—Exodus 20:8 (ESV)

SabbathA discussion came up about the Sabbath the other day, and it got me asking, “Is it more important to make Sunday the day of rest or to keep it holy?”

The verses following the quote above say, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work… For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Is the Sabbath holy because we don’t do any work? That seems like a legalistic view. Jesus said, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”—Mark 2:27 (ESV)

I would interpret this that if your day of rest is a sacrifice to God, full of reflection on God and His glory, then everything else will fall into place as being holy from that. The work that you do serving in the church on the Sabbath is holy, the work that you do getting your kids up and prepared to worship is holy, and the work that you do driving to and from church and however you encounter people on the trip is holy.

Let’s be honest, you can also rest on Sunday and not keep the Sabbath. If you’re in bed until noon because you were out on a bender the night before, then that’s not really keeping the Sabbath. If you come home from church (like me) and loaf on the couch watching football from noon until midnight, that’s not really keeping the Sabbath.

Let’s make sure the Sabbath is holy by putting God first on Sunday and every other day.

What is your family’s favorite Sunday afternoon activity?


4 thoughts on “Keep it holy

  1. Naptime for the little ones!

  2. Great thoughts!

    Some questions to ponder are these: can we make something holy, or God alone? If God alone, then we can only “keep” holy what God has already called “holy”, right?

    Also, if God alone can make something holy, which day does the Bible say God called “holy”?

    • I thought of some similar things as well. There are a lot of churches that have Saturday night and Sunday night services because of overflow. And, the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday and not Sunday, but did God just suddenly change his mind on that or is that just a function of the church?

      Also, there are those who work in public service like the police, firemen, doctors and nurses (which I would argue is a Biblical calling because they are healing others and placing their lives at risk for others) who have to be on call or working on the traditional Sabbath. Does that mean that they are not keeping the Sabbath holy if they observe it on a different day because of their work schedules?

      And if I understand you correctly, God has declared the Sabbath holy, but then we are also called to be holy as well (1 Peter 1:15, for example). We can declare nothing holy ourselves, but we are holy through Christ. Good questions….

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