By Jerry Price
Retired Pastor, Spring Hill
Some of you, like me, are old enough to remember the old Sunday Blue Laws. Most businesses were closed except a few that sold essentials. Even most gas stations were closed. Sunday was set aside for worship and rest from the busy week.
I remember one particular weekend when the power went off in our house during the night on Saturday. The temperature was in the teens and we woke up to a very cold Sunday morning.
I discovered that one of the old 220 volt fuses (there were no circuit breakers to reset) had burned out. I couldn’t buy one anywhere. I finally had to call the emergency service line at the power company to get the fuse replaced but even that took some persuading to get them to come.
But that day seems mostly dead and gone. During my first full-time pastorate in a Chicago suburb, I found that many of the high schools played their football games on Sunday because so many were engaged in shift-work.
Sunday was, for many families, the only day both parents were off from work. Today, a person can buy almost anything they want on Sunday except something from Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and a few others. Sunday, unfortunately, has become just another day for so many.
Today’s focal passage reminds us that Sunday is NOT just another day. It is, first, a time of remembrance (Exodus 20:8a).
The Hebrew word means to remember by commemoration, to celebrate, to observe. It means more than just mental activity. It means an active participation. It means to “keep” it — which is the word Moses used in Deuteronomy 5:12 in his restatement of the commandments. It includes the idea of the preservation of something — to not lose something, either through neglect or misuse.
Second, it is a day of reverence (vv. 8b, 10a). It is to be a holy day — not a holiday. A holiday is what you get when you take a holy day and take God out of it.
Contrary to modern opinion, the Sabbath was not a day of recreation, but a day of re-creation. We have all heard the statement, “I can worship God on the golf course — not just in church.” Of course a person can! But do they? Personally, I’ve never heard hymns being sung during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game.
Third, it is a day of rest (vv. 9, 10b). God knows that the physical body can only expend itself so much. It needs rest. But the same is true of the mind and the emotions. The person who works seven days a week will eventually come apart, either physically or emotionally — or both.
Fourth, it is a day of reverence (v. 11). It is a time to reflect on Who God is and what He has done — to reflect on the holiness and goodness of God. To not do so does not please God (Exodus 31:14-15). In Isaiah 58:13-14, God promises a blessing on those who honor Him rather than doing their own thing.
God makes it clear that He is the example for all of mankind. He worked to create everything in six days and rested on the seventh and declared it to be holy — that is, set apart (Genesis 2:1-3).
The world we live in does not make it easy to comply with this commandment. We can fall too easily into the trap of making Sunday just another day instead of a day to worship and honor the Lord. We must keep our guard up to avoid that trap.