Sony’s Thoughts: Remember the Sabbath Day

I was thinking this morning what a blessing it is to have a day to draw near to the Lord. We need to draw near to God every day but I think there’s a reason God told us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). It could be argued that we’re no longer under the law or that that was written to the Jews but I believe God’s example of taking a day to rest is for all of us.

Years ago, I used to work seven days a week and I’ve noticed a difference since setting apart one day of the week to focus on God and spend more time worshiping and seeking Him. No matter how much work I think I have to do, taking a day off to draw near to God gives me the strength to be more effective and accomplish more in my work week and it really is worth it.

I’ve also learned that the purpose of the “Sabbath” isn’t to take time off to pursue your own pleasure (Isaiah 58:13). That is challenging at times. I enjoy watching movies or reading an occasional novel but I want God to be glorified in everything I do. Not that those things are wrong but the largest part of my Sabbath needs to be spent drawing near to God. Forgive me if I sound like a broken record; I guess that’s just where my heart is today.

If you work on Sunday, I’m not trying to produce a guilt trip. I have friends who take Monday as their Sabbath. I know some people say it has to be Saturday or Sunday but I feel like the spirit behind it is to take one day a week to veer off from your normal routine and draw near to Christ. Even most household chores can be set aside for that day as you draw strength from Him to start anew the next day. This can’t be at the exclusion of a daily walk with God but can definitely be an extra asset to bring you into a closer walk with Him.


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52 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. God made us and knows what is best for us. His commandments are for our own good. We need a day to be refreshed and worship Him. Let us listen to Him, obey Him, and He will bless us and give us rest. The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

    • Amen. Obedience seems to be the key to all of life, doesn’t it? That’s what I’m finding. That’s where true happiness lies.

  2. Sony, I totally agree with you about the Sabbath. There’s only one thing that bothers me. If we are “no longer under the law” as some say, why is it only the 4th commandment that we don’t keep? If all the other laws were given to us for our own good and to live in harmony with God and with each other, why then, is it only the 4th commandment, the Sabbath, that we say was only for the Jews? God says, I change not. So my thoughts are, the law that we are not under, is the law of Moses that became more of a burden than a blessing, not the 10 Commandments law. I’ve just been thinking this as I’ve been studying. Also, because the disciples still kept the 7th Day Sabbath after Jesus went back to heaven. I don’t know, it just seems to make sense to me. I know not everybody agrees with my thinking, I just wonder if we shouldn’t study on this a bit more.

    • I don’t know if that’s the only one . . . plenty of Christians make graven images / representations of God . . .

      • I was going to say, “just of Jesus,” who actually was on this earth in physical form. (It would be hard to help children grasp “Peace, be still” while leaving out the main figure.)

        But I guess there are images, like in the Sistine Chapel, that include representations of God the Father.

        I’m not sure what I think about that. On the one hand, it seems like the prohibition in that commandment is against idolatry. On the other, we all recognize that the existence of images can lead to idolatry (like the worship of “icons,” or whatever they call them nowadays). And that intent was probably there as well.

      • I have mixed feelings on that, too – but the connection between that and graven images is approximately as tenuous as the case that the commandment given to Jews to take a day off on Saturday as Sabbath binds Christians to take Sunday off!

      • ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yup, we definitely base that on interpretations of tradition whether than what’s explicitly stated in the Bible.

        Whoa, did I say that out loud?

      • I believe it’s permissible to create artistic representations of God, so long as it is done with power and artistic dignity. Too much art out there cheapens the image of God, whether it’s in little kid cartoons or shockingly bad stuff that people think is acceptable to hang in churches! (I know of someone who keeps a steady supply of this kind of “art” on her website so her readers can lament the decline of Christian art with her.)

      • Do you think that has anything to do with the actual commandment referenced, though?

      • Amy, yes – whether or not the depiction of God has artistic dignity has no bearing on whether or not the second commandment forbids graven images of God, period! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I’m not talking about the 2nd commandment. I’m saying what I think.

        ๐Ÿ™‚

        In all seriousness, no, I don’t think Christians should consider themselves bound by the 2nd commandment. What I am saying is that if they do choose to depict God in art, they must take it very seriously indeed.

      • If I was in definite agreement with your premise, I would heartily agree with your final assertion. If God can be depicted in art, then it had better be done seriously.

        I’m intrigued to see you go so far as to say that the 2nd Commandment shouldn’t be binding for Christians. Which commandments should and should not, in your view – and why some and not others?

      • I hope I didn’t sound smart-aleck; I was just being brief. And your answer was what assumed you meant.

        As to how we are or not bound by OT law … Man, I’ve got stuff to get done today!

      • My last reply was actually to NSF.

      • Oops, mine was too!

      • Well, this is the commandment in full as rendered in my King James:

        “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

        If Christians felt themselves bound by this commandment, they would consider it wrong to paint or sculpt ANYTHING, even a fish!

      • Amy – ah, OK.

        NSF – I understand that the Reformed Christians in the Reformation era, particularly in Switzerland and Scotland, did take it literally.

      • Maybe Rembrandt is giving them a few tips and pointers now… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • That is, naturally, assuming they were wrong and Rembrandt was right. If it was actually the other way around…

      • I told you you should make jokes more often… Glad you’re taking my advice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • You took that as a joke? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ™ It is entirely probable that the 2nd Commandment still applies, and certainly possible that the Reformers’ interpretation was correct.

      • I’m in a charitable mood, so yes, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt…

        If you’re being serious, how far would you take it? Should we take away crayons and paper from small children when they try to draw things?

      • I’m not saying I agree – I said that it’s possibly correct.

        If it’s correct, then we probably shouldn’t be using crayons in the first place.

      • Well, that’s your decision naturally, but in my opinion it doesn’t take much thinking to see that the Reformers’ approach is absurd. God gives many of His children the gift of art—I know some gifted artists myself, and they create a lot of beauty for His glory. And the instinct within children to draw things is a perfectly innocent one. In fact, it’s often used to create gifts of love and friendship.

        If you’re trying to say that the moment a child begins to draw anything, even a stick figure or a flower, we should plausibly suppress that instinct, then I think that’s a big mistake. How many such things were commanded in the Old Testament, even more detailed than this? We should certainly not worship graven images of God, but any broader application is simply too broad.

      • Parts of that argument are pragmatic, others procedural . . . but that isn’t a doctrinal case that the 2nd Amendment no longer applies.

      • Umm, 2nd Commandment. Sorry! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • There’s no reason to assume that the 2nd Commandment should apply in that way, and in fact there’s solid scriptural reason to conclude that it doesn’t.

      • No reason to assume graven images = artistic depictions of God? How do you get there?

      • No, no reason to assume that the strictly literal interpretation and application we’ve been discussing—of not using drawing implements to create any kind of image—is the correct one.

      • Is it not the default principle of exposition, though, that we assume the Bible is speaking literally unless we have good reasons to believe otherwise?

        What reasons would you have for believing it is figurative?

      • Pardon, let me clarify—I think the verse is literally telling the audience to whom it is addressed that they should not fashion or create an image of any kind of thing in creation. I was saying that Christians should not consider themselves bound to follow it strictly literally.

      • By the way, as far as taking the Bible completely literally… do you really, truly, literally pray without ceasing? Because I know I don’t. Try it some time.

      • You’re pursuing a red herring argument here – I did not advocate that every single statement in the Bible is literal, because there are occasions where some are said to be figurative.

        I’m saying literal is the normative mode – and thus we cannot assume that something is not literal with no other ground than just an assumption.

      • I just mentioned it in passing because you’ve taken other verses in the same rigid sense where I think there’s equally good reason not to. I think context plays a huge role in interpreting any piece of Scripture, and especially in this case context is absolutely crucial.

      • OK. Well, at least we’ve tossed the red herrings aside where they belong, and we’re closer to the heart of the issue. What part of Exodus 20 indicates that the chapter, or this portion of it, is intended to be taken figuratively?

      • Oh – so you’re making the case under the argument that Jesus came not to abolish but to fulfill the law?

        Well, I can understand that. That’s the train of thought that leads me to not be entirely confident that the Reformers’ position was correct.

      • You’re missing my point. I’m not saying that we should interpret it to mean something different from what it literally says. I’m saying that it matters to whom the commandment is addressed, and there’s no guarantee that it was addressed to or intended for us.

      • Oh โ€“ so youโ€™re making the case under the argument that Jesus came not to abolish but to fulfill the law?Well, I can understand that. Thatโ€™s the train of thought that leads me to not be entirely confident that the Reformersโ€™ position was correct.

      • Yes. I’m saying it doesn’t apply to Christians for the same reason Christians don’t have to keep kosher.

      • Now I’ve half a mind to go sketch something… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Y’all, do you remember that in the temple itself, the site of worship, that the Israelites had statues of cherubim? And many thank that there were figures of angels woven into the veil. Do you remember the brass serpent that was raised on a pole? That one was eventually worshiped, and for that reason Hezekiah destroyed it. I believe Jeremiah drew a diagram of a siege in the dirt – hard to conceptualize if you’ve never been exposed to any drawing. Solomon during the time of his glory had lions sculptured along the steps leading to his throne. And those are just the examples I remember without looking.

        I think it makes sense to suppose that the Israelites themselves understood this in a reasonable sense as a prohibition against idolatry, not as the Islamic religion interprets it, as a prohibition against drawing anything. And you know, I suppose you could worship paisleys and triangles. There are probably people who have done it.

        I sure am glad I left to get some work done when I did! 8|

      • Good thoughts. So not all images are prohibited – but I still think that artistic depictions of God come a whole lot closer to the original intent.

      • I think the whole point was to prevent the idolizing of a created thing AS A GOD. So that’s why having some sculpted lions in your palace was one thing, while making a golden calf so you can bow down to it is another.

        The Israelites knew what God meant even if some of us are a bit slow to figure it out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I think we are in danger of understanding what God is trying to tell us, if we, as Sony said, “feel like the spirit behind it is to take one day a week to veer off from your normal routine and draw near to Christ.” The Scripture reads, โ€œRemember the Sabbath day, to keep it holyโ€ (Exodus 20:8), not a Sabbath day. “The” always means a definite thing, not a choice to be made. Choosing our own day may make us like Cain, who chose his own way rather than God’s way to serve Him.

    • Robert, before you go there, I think you need to make the case that Christians are obligated to follow the Old Testament law – or at least this portion of it.

      One view broadly accepted in many Christian circles is that God rested on the first sabbath to set an example for us, and commanded it for the Israelites, because He wired our bodies to need a day off. This viewpoint holds that we take this example and apply it to taking a day of rest, but that we rest and gather on Sunday instead in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection – as indeed we find churches doing in the New Testament.

  4. Jesus himself was accused iof violating the sabbath
    And i think Romans 14:5 sheds some light on how
    The sabbath was to be observed. This was a big issue
    For the early new testament church.

  5. I think that the 2nd commandment is really referring to images worshiped as God. Considering while God was giving Moses the law Aaron and the children of Israel where making a golden calf.

  6. Dont try to take away our 2nd amendment rights too Daniel. :-).

    • HA! 2nd Amendment rights give me warm fuzzies… *click*

  7. Daniel, there are no examples of New Testament churches meeting on Sunday, but even Gentiles asked Paul to preach to them on the seventh-day Sabbath. God’s ten commandment moral law has been in effect since creation, and as Jesus said, will not be changed as the heavens and earth exist.

    • Yes, there are examples – at least of the tithe being collected when the Christians meet on Sundays! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Perhaps someone could make the case, from that, that the offering is the most scripturally mandated portion of the service.

      (OK, that last sentence was ENTIRELY tongue-in-cheek!)

      • I don’t remember – was that specifically said to happen on the first day of the week?

        Oh, sure enough – I Cor. 16:2. Still doesn’t say that they were having church, though. They could have just saved what was left from payday after paying bills. ๐Ÿ˜›