Keep the Sabbath Holy!
Scripture reading for August 24th: Ezekiel 20-23
In our time, the thought of a day just set apart for God is quite a rare thing. Sunday’s are a time for church and fellowship for a minority of people who claim to be Christians. Sports, family time, sleeping in and other activities often take the place of worship and communion with the Lord. It turns out, that this is not a new problem. Ezekiel was told to address this problem in his day as well. It was one of the contributing reasons for God’s judgment on His people!
God had taken the Israelites out of Egypt and given them His holy laws to set them apart from all the other nations. He also established the Sabbath as a sign for them, so that they would know that the Lord had made them holy people who were set apart for Him. (Ezekiel 20:10-12) But the people rejected His laws and desecrated His holy Sabbath. They clung to their idols. God had pity on them and did not destroy them in the desert, but appealed to the younger generation to keep His laws and Sabbaths. (Ezekiel 20:16-21) They also rebelled against God and went back to idolatry.
When man desecrates the Sabbath and despises the law of God, all sorts of evil manifests. Ezekiel was to call for judgment on Jerusalem because of the sins that came as a result of desecrating God’s Sabbath. (Ezekiel 22:1-8) The people were filled with violence and bloodshed was rampant. The people lived in adultery and idolatry. They failed to care for orphans and widows. They disrespected fathers and mothers. When God is forgotten, evil is the result!
The Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, was the day God set apart for enjoying fellowship with His people. It was a day to be marked by no work. Man was to rest from all his labors as God Himself had rested after the six days of creation. (Exodus 20:8-11) (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) He was to enjoy God and center on his relationship with God. He was to realign himself with God’s laws and seek the Lord for mercy and direction. He was to remember the God of creation as well as the God who delivered His people from slavery and bondage in Egypt.
Could it be that we need to revisit the Sabbath? Have we lost contact with God because of failure to rest in Him?