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Fourth, that on the Sabbath day we spend time in public and private worship of God, rest from routine employment, serve the Lord and others, and so anticipate the eternal Sabbath. Fifth, that we love and honor our father and our mother, submitting to their godly discipline and direction.
Fourth, that on the Sabbath day we spend time in worship of God. Fifth, that we love and honor our father and mother.
Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.
It is now easy to understand the doctrine of the law—viz. that God, as our Creator, is entitled to be regarded by us as a Father and Master, and should, accordingly, receive from us fear, love, reverence, and glory; nay, that we are not our own, to follow whatever course passion dictates, but are bound to obey him implicitly, and to acquiesce entirely in his good pleasure. Again, the Law teaches, that justice and rectitude are a delight, injustice an abomination to him, and, therefore, as we would not with impious ingratitude revolt from our Maker, our whole life must be spent in the cultivation of righteousness. For if we manifest becoming reverence only when we prefer his will to our own, it follows, that the only legitimate service to him is the practice of justice, purity, and holiness. Nor can we plead as an excuse, that we want the power, and, like debtors, whose means are exhausted, are unable to pay. We cannot be permitted to measure the glory of God by our ability; whatever we may be, he ever remains like himself, the friend of righteousness, the enemy of unrighteousness, and whatever his demands from us may be, as he can only require what is right, we are necessarily under a natural obligation to obey.
If we read the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, we come to see that the command to remember the Sabbath day has two aspects to it.
First, it’s a crucial practice. In our lives we’re commanded to have
a rhythm of work and rest, and we are forbidden to overwork.
We’re also commanded to nurture our bodies and our souls. We’re not supposed to nurture only our bodies. We’re to rejuvenate our souls through fellowship and through prayer and devotion and worship every week.
It’s also true, however, that the New Testament shows us that the
Sabbath day points to a deeper kind of rest. Hebrews 4 in particular says that when we believe in Christ and the gospel, we rest from our works. Which means the great burden of having to prove ourselves and having to earn our salvation is lifted from us. In this life we get much of that deeper rest, and yet it’s only completely realized in the future in the new heavens and new earth. And we look for that and we long for that. It’s deeply consoling especially at times in which we’re very weary.
The fifth commandment to honor our parents should also be read in light of the gospel. The command says that as children, we should obey our parents. As adults, we should respect and listen to our parents. And yet the gospel also reminds us that God is our Father, by grace we’re brought into his family, and he is our primary source of love. And if our primary phileo relationship is with him, then we are able to love and honor our parents well, not looking to them to provide what can be found in God alone.
Life-Giving Father, we will flourish only when we walk in your ways. You have made us, and you tell us we need rest. Keep us from justifying ourselves through ceaseless work. Give us humility to honor our parents. May we always live by your commands rather than by our own instincts. Amen.