First Reading:  Deuteronomy 5:12-15


Keeping the Sabbath


12 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as YHWH your God commanded you. 13 You shall labor six days, and do all your work; 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to YHWH your God, in which you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and YHWH your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. Therefore YHWH your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.


World English Bible


Many people don't realize the Ten Commandments were recorded in order of importance. The first three commandments concern one's obligation to God. The next seven concern one's duty to neighbor.


The First Commandment addressed loyalty. (And since loyalty to a national God defined one's allegiance to his or her people, religious loyalty was synonymous with patriotism.)


The Second Commandment addressed respect for power. Since one's name revealed his or her inner power and character, use of the name, ancient people believed, could manipulate one's power. This commandment demanded respect for God's name and, so, his power. The Hebrews existed because of God's power. They were not to abuse that power by needlessly evoking his name.


The Third Commandment addressed freedom under God. One can be free from something, so they can freely choose for something. God had freed his people from ongoing servitude so they could worship and be re-created. Hence, everyone and everything observed this sacred time of rest so they could be renewed. Sabbath freed the believer from work, so the believer could choose God and allow God to show his creative power.


Current culture now treats Sunday as a secular holiday with religious overtones. People work and play on the Lord's Day. But do they worship? Do they return to God the blessings he has given them? Do they allow God time to renew their spirit?


Have you ever taken a Sunday afternoon in quiet prayer and reflection? Have you ever prayed with your family to offer your Sunday time and activity to God? How did it (or could it) change your Sunday?