Life of Moses
A Most Divine Wedding: Part IV: A Most Important Vow…
7/27/3; ed. 6.28.15
Introduction: Got a best friend? Perhaps, your mate? Got some good friends? So how do you maintain that or those friendships? What happens when you don’t maintain that or those friendships? I mean what happens over time? How do you most enjoy spending time with that friend or friends? Might any of the same things that make friendships, meaningful, satisfying and enduring apply to our relationship with God or the community of fellow believers in Christ?
General Introduction: Moses, led by God, is leading the children of Israel, perhaps as many as 2-3 million strong, away from Egypt and closer to the land promised to their forefathers seven centuries before. Their journey has not been without its problems. Having overcome food, water and leadership issues and a threatening military foe, God’s people have reached his mountain–the same place where Moses was called by God to lead Israel out of Egypt.
The Bride, Israel, having ritually purified herself and refrained from having sexual relations with each other, via her leadership, approaches her Groom’s mountain and prepares to take her vows—the covenant.
Last week, we asked: 1) Why does God so strongly command exclusivity? Why not be a little more tolerant with the worship of other gods or religions? 2) Why are the consequences for not worshiping him alone… or the rewards for singly worshipping him… so pronounced…so strong? And are they fair? 3) What does it really mean to misuse the name of God?
This Week’s Notes: 1) When one ponders Creation’s magnificence, why do you think God ceased on the seventh day in his extraordinary creative activities? 2) Why do you think God chose to incorporate a similar weekly cessation within his law with his Spiritual bride, Israel? Do you think God’s command to Israel for a soul-recreative, Sabbath ceasing and worshiping rest still have some application for today?
Pray (Ask God for insight…)
Read Passage several times…(if more than 12 verses, I would read only twice).
Ask Questions (with No Answers)
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
So now we shift from the Bride’s vows of exclusivity towards her Spiritual Groom—God–to something called the “keeping the Sabbath holy or sacred.” Is that because the “Sabbath” belongs to God—the Groom?
Why, after a series of commands or vows concerning the Groom and Bride’s exclusivity or Spiritual fidelity, is this command to “keep the Sabbath” so crucial as to be the NEXT command or vow in a series of commands or vows betweent the Groom and Bride?
What does the “Sabbath” mean? “Rest”?
And how was Israel to keep this “rest holy”?
What does “holy” mean? Special? Sacred? Set apart? Ritually clean? Pure?
And if “set apart” or “belonging,” “set apart” or “belonging to” or for what? And why or for what purpose, such as monies that are set aside for a college savings plan or a vacation or a new or used car or a special toy or game? Or apples that are bought and “set apart” for a pie, or a pie that is set apart for a church potluck?
So in this one command, we may have two important concepts whose full meaning we may not fully understand?
Holy usually means “sacred,” “belonging to the gods…or the God…heavenly…not earthly, common or profane…something that has been ritualistically cleansed, or there has been an acceptable offering sacrificed to purify it up.
Now it is not earthly or contaminated by the earthly or profane, but scrubbed of sin and evil, and therefore it can now be touched or used by God.”
So how is Israel to keep this day set apart? Belonging to God?
Does this still apply today?
When was their Sabbath? On Sundays? On Saturdays? Friday sundown to Saturday sundown?
Was worship involved with their Sabbath?
Why does God want people to do this? Does the bride keeping the Sabbath set apart or holy, keep his bride remembering and honoring their relationship? Does it allow the Bride to rest from her labor? Keep her fresh?
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
How long did people work, from sun up to sun down? Was it hard work? Did they rest during the day?
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
And you can’t delegate others within your family or hired hand or slaves to do your work on the “Sabbath” either?
In other words there are no short cuts? Everyone must rest or cease from their labor?
But will God take care of me for the day I don’t work, kind of like having enough manna on the sixth day for both the sixth and seventh days?
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Were these literal days that God created the heavens and earth or metaphorical days—kind of like a day is like a thousand years to God and a thousand years is like a day? Why did God rest? Why did he decide to bless the Sabbath and make it holy? Do we make it holy? Do we have Sabbaths in our lives that are special and set apart to God?
Who? You, LORD your God, your son, daughter, manservant, maidservant, animals, alien within your gates
Where? Within your gates, the heavens and the earth and the sea, in them
When? Sabbath day, Six days, seventh day
• God tells Israel that they are to not forget the Sabbath day.
• He tells them that they are given six days to do all their work.
• But the seventh is a Sabbath to God.
• They are not to do any work…no one…on the seventh day.
• Because God created the heavens and earth in six day and rested on the seventh, therefore, he blessed—honored it—and made is special for his purposes—holy.
Summary…Just as God labored for six days and rested on the seventh, so he commands his bride, Israel, to set aside one day in seven, or the seventh day, as a special day of rest from their labors. 20:8-11
Why? (What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?)
• God values rest. He created his creatures to rest too. He did not design his creatures to work all the time or every day. There must be a break. A time to re-create the soul, mind and body.
• God rested or ceased after working or creating for six days.
• God works first, rest or ceases second.
• The Sabbath is special because it was special to God.
• Israel certainly establishes the Sabbath as separate or special by not allowing work to be done on the Sabbath.
Special note: Does the Sabbath still apply within the New Testament or New Covenant? After all, Exodus 20 is all about the Old Covenant, or God’s contract with Israel. As believers, since the time of Christ, we are or have a New Covenant with God through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Just like Moses was the mediator, attorney or go-between between God and Israel within the Old Covenant or Testament, Christ is the now the mediator or go-between God and his church in the New Covenant?
Hebrews in the NT goes on to tell us that ours is a much better covenant than the previous, older one.
Actually, the only one of the Ten Commandments not to be repeated in the New Testament is this command, “to keep the Sabbath sacred or holy.”
Still the question applies…does this command relate to us, Christ’s church today?
Some say that every day is special and holy under the New Covenant. No one day is more special that the other.
For the Jews, they celebrated their Sabbath from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.
As Christians, the church has traditionally celebrated Sunday as their day of rest or worship. This is based on Christ’s resurrection.
Paul also met with some believers on the first day of the week, Sunday (Acts 20).
Today many churches meet on Saturday evenings as well. Some have Friday services. Some have an extra Wednesday service. Some have two Sunday services, one on Sunday morning. Another one on Sunday evening. What is the right thing to do—the right way to honor God…to honor our New Covenant?
There are no simple answers. If every day is holy, then Sunday, as a traditional day of worship, is still perhaps only a matter of convenience or tradition. People have less going on this day than others. They are off from work or their labors, although this seems to be changing more and more. Others are resting or sleeping in or at the lake or at sporting contests.
Basically, it all boils down to this. It is good to rest…and it is good to take time to meet with other believers to worship God and be encouraged in my faith.
Thus it is up to the individual to make those two goals work together. For some they will take off both Saturday and Sunday. Others may get together to encourage one another Spiritually several times or days a week.
So the bottom line: one might as well incorporate rest within one’s perseverance because one will need it for the longer haul, which is what most things will usually take to begin with.
Thanksgiving…Another good Sunday, gaining a better idea of specifically what Generation Next is doing in rural Kenya, including supporting and expanding their rural school, visiting the main hospital in the area, along with various other schools, as well as, purchasing another house which could be used for another school or orphanage.
Also enjoyed lots of good ministry, counseling and grounds work this week. On Thursday, after some difficult, painful and emergency counseling, it was nice to have a wonderful and impromptu date with my wife, listening to our local s TFO summer classical orchestra play Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto and Mozart’s Gran Partita. Afterwards, we ate dinner out and took a late night walk and talk down at the Landing. I needed it…
Struggle…Some emergency counseling with some possible implications that I was not expecting this week, especially as I am about to leave town…
Truth…much like a husband and wife enjoying a date or anniversary to recreate their marriage intimacy, taking or enjoying a regular or weekly Spiritual Sabbath rest is important for two reasons—resting in order to be restored from one’s tiring and creative labors, as well as, for Spiritual support, refreshment, encouragement and accountability.
Application…I have several thoughts: 1) I just experienced a marital and emotional sabbatical rest last night with my wife when we took time away to listen to beautiful classical music, go out to eat and enjoy a late evening walk and talk with each other. It was very helpful to my Spiritual and emotional equilibrium.
2) On a greater, annual or semi-annual scale, I am about to take some time away with my wife to recreate a portion of my insatiable curiosity to explore, discover and observe the geographical landscape—this time, portions of the American Southwest;
3) I witness too many foolish people that attempt to thrive or something without some meaningful, regular and frequent Spiritual rest and accountability. But authentic Spiritual vitality just can’t be done without the Spiritual Bride and Groom spending regular rested time together. God ceased his creative activities for a purpose. It’s implanted within our creative and redemptive DNA…as creatures created within the image of our Creator and now, recreated by faith and forgiveness in the image of our Redeemer. We were made and reborn to Spiritually rest and be reborn via the Spirit within the presence of our Lord and Savior. How to persuade them to do otherwise…now that I have yet to discover. Again and again and again, I see devastating consequences.
4) At the same time, this consistent, frequent and intimate Spiritual bride and groom time or space must be characterized by authenticity. Anything less is useless Spiritual fraud.
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.