Read Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15. How do these two versions of the fourth commandment complement each other?
Remembering is an important part of the relationship that God seeks to re-establish with His people, a relationship centered on the fact that God is our Creator and Redeemer. Both roles appear in the two versions of the fourth commandment and are thus linked closely with Sabbath and its practice.
Coming out of a land dominated by so many false gods, the Israelites needed to be reminded of the true God’s role as the Creator. The Sabbath was a crucial way to do that, made all the more significant in the context of the weekly cycle of providing extra manna on Friday, a powerful example of His creative power. In the Exodus 20 version of the fourth commandment, God as our Creator is revealed most clearly.
By contrast, their rescue, redemption, and salvation is the focus of the fourth commandment in Deuteronomy 5. This was a story that the Israelites were to retell regularly; they could reconnect with it especially every Sabbath. Their first story was one of actual, physical rescue from slavery in Egypt, but as their understanding of God and His salvation grew, Sabbath would also become a weekly symbol and celebration of their spiritual salvation.
Both of these motivations for Sabbath were about restoring the relationship between God and His people: “I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy” (Ezek. 20:12, NIV). And, as we have seen, this was never about this group of people only. On the foundation of this relationship, they were to establish a new kind of society, one that was kind to outsiders and a blessing to the wider world.
“Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deut. 5:15, NIV). By keeping the Sabbath as a way of remembering and celebrating both our creation and Redemption, we can continue to grow in our relationship, not only with the Lord but with those around us. God is gracious to us; therefore, we need to be gracious to others.
|In what ways should Sabbath keeping make us better, kinder, more caring, and compassionate people?|