Let's Talk About the Fourth Commandment

by Andrea Murdock

 

Exodus 16:1-26; 20:1-17

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

You must have no other gods before me.

Do not make an idol for yourself—no form whatsoever—of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the Lord your God, am a passionate God. I punish children for their parents’ sins even to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. But I am loyal and gracious to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Do not use the Lord your God’s name as if it were of no significance; the Lord won’t forgive anyone who uses his name that way.

Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals, or the immigrant who is living with you. 11 Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 Honor your father and your mother so that your life will be long on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 Do not kill.

14 Do not commit adultery.

15 Do not steal.

16 Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.

17 Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s house. Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

Key Verse:

Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. —Exodus 20:8

 

Commentary:

The Israelites weren’t the only ancient people to set aside days free of work. But, from what we know, they were the only ones to make a connection between rest and honoring and glorifying God.

 

When the Israelites were traveling through the wilderness and found themselves hungry, God provided a food called “manna” (meaning “What?” or “What is it?”). God told the people exactly how much manna to collect each day and instructed them to collect twice that amount on the sixth day, allowing them to rest on the seventh.

 

Remembering the sabbath was so important to the people’s relationship with God that it became one of the Ten Commandments—the first set of laws that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

 

Honoring the sabbath is still important to many Jews and Christians today. Some continue to prepare for the day in advance, even making meals a day early so that they won’t have to work on the sabbath.

 

Questions to Discuss:

What do you do to prepare your heart and mind for the sabbath?

In what ways do you act, dress, or speak differently on Sundays?

Does God want us to act differently on Sundays? Why or why not?

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