Keep the Sabbath--Jeremiah 17:19-27
The fourth of the Ten Commandments is:
"Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventhy day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work--you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, of your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep; the sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:12-15. See the parallel text in Exodus 20:8-11.
The message of the Old Testament prophets [as well as the New Testament] is rooted in the Law of God. As one example, Yahweh through Jeremiah confronts the people of God to observe or remember the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:19-27. This little paragraph falls into two parts.
I. The People of God refused to keep the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:19-23.
a. Yahweh through Jeremiah commands the kings of Judah and all the people of Judah to keep the Sabbath as they go in and out of the Jerusalem temple to worship Yahweh. Yahweh specifically commands His people to not bear a burden on the sabbath by the gates of Jerusalem or out of their houses, as Yahweh commanded his ancestors in the Ten Commandments. He encourages them to do this "for the sake of their lives" [17:21a]. 17:19-22.
b. YET, God's people "stiffened their necks" and refused to remember or keep the Sabbath. 17:23.
II. Yahweh gives His people the choice of obeying or disobeying his command to keep the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:24-27.
a. Yahweh says: "IF YOU LISTEN TO ME," and bring no burden on the sabbath, THEN kings will sit on the throne of David, this city shall be inhabited forever, and people shall come from the towns of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, bringing all kinds of sacrifices to the house of Yahweh, the Jerusalem temple. 17:24-26.
b. BUT Yahweh says: "IF YOU DO NOT LISTEN TO ME," to keep the sabbath day hold and carry in no burden through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath, THEN Yahweh will devour the palaces and Jerusalem and destroy this city. 17:27.
Of course, people can abuse the Sabbath in many ways: by being insincere, by being self-centered, by living in ungodly ways against other people, etc. But God desires that we keep the sabbath. This has not changed throughout the centuries. Let us strive to discipline in such a way as to honor God by keeping the sabbath.
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