Why Keeping the Sabbath is Easier Than You Think

Keeping the Sabbath is easy:

Go outside, and watch the sunset.

Hold an infant. Pick a flower. Pet a dog.

You see, remembering the Sabbath means reflecting on God’s creation.

I recently attended a retirement reception for three teachers at the school where I work.

Although I didn't know any of them that well, it was moving to see the kind of impact they had made on their students throughout decades spent in the classroom. The entire ceremony was dedicated to looking at the past and reflecting on all these individuals had accomplished in their careers.

Retirement is like a period—a point on our timelines that signifies the end of a job (hopefully) well done.

In essence, this is exactly what God did on the seventh day. He had finished His work and took time to reflect on it, determining that it was good. This is why the Fourth Commandment begins with the word “remember”:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

Let's take some time to dissect this phrase. Though it is only eight words, the subtext could fill up a book.

Remember the Sabbath day . . .

These four words constitute the core of the commandment. It is a positive command—we must do something (rather than abstain from something). But more than just a command, it is also a pointer to creation. The word “remember” refers to a specific time in the past.

The moment in question is “the Sabbath,” the original Sabbath, the seventh day of creation. We know this reference is to creation in part by the fact that the word sabbath is capitalized (notice it is not capitalized in the second sentence of the commandment), and also in part by the next phrase:

. . . by keeping it holy

The passage does not read, “Remember the Sabbath by making it holy.” Instead it dictates that we are to keep it that way. God already blessed the day and made it holy. The word “keeping” implies a preservation of that holiness.

How do we keep the Sabbath holy?

The answer also lies in the creation narrative. Were there any doubts about the relevance of creation to the Fourth Commandment up to this point, the phrase “by keeping it holy” overcomes them. This is a direct reference to Genesis:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 2:2-3

God made the seventh day holy “because on it He rested” after creating the universe.

Therefore it is reasonable to infer that it is proper on the Sabbath to reflect on God’s creation. Doing this is actually an act of worship because it acknowledges that He is the creator.

God created everything, and He is in control.

We too would do well to reflect on His creation, and I bet you reach the same conclusion that He did.

For it is nigh impossible to look at the ocean, the sunrise, the star-filled sky, or a newborn child and not proclaim it as good. Out of this realization comes a compulsion to worship the Creator—a compulsion not born of force but of awe.

What better way to remember the Sabbath than this?

So this Saturday evening I dare you to make time to catch the sunset, and in doing so give God the reverence He deserves.

Nothing could be easier.


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