Bible reading: Exodus 20:8-11
04/08 – A family day.
My purpose today is to help you to fall in love again with God. I hope that your mind and understanding widens little by little knowing more and more our wonderful Lord.
This week we have re-discovered some interesting aspects of God. Let’s review them quickly. God made a declaration of love in 10 vows or wedding promises. Exodus 20 is a wedding certificate where these promises are registered. He pronounced them publicly getting engaged with Israel, taking them as His bride.
In the first promise, to say, the first vow, God promised to be your Husband, to take care of you, so you will never need to seek for another one who will care about you.
In the second vow, God promised to stay at your side constantly. He promised to be with you at all times, to the point that you will never need a picture of Him, because the real God will be at your side. He also promised to take care of you and your family, as the doctor visits the home of the ill to heal them.
In third place, God has promised to listen to you at all times, every time you call Him, every time you use His name. He is willing to help you and waits for your call of help to react immediately. We have a wonderful God, who takes pleasure in fulfilling His promises. No matter your past errors, He is always ready to listen and to forgive.
Let’s go with the fourth promise.
Let’s read Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
I know you might have read this text hundreds of times, and probably you know it by memory. But, sincerely, isn’t it sometimes like a “burden”? When you have to quit a job because of the observation of Sabbath day, is that something that everybody would do cheerfully?
If sometimes it is already difficult to observe the Sabbath, how can this be a promise? Doubtlessly, I tell you in advance, it is a promise. And it is precisely because of misunderstanding this promise as a “commandment” what has made it become a “burden” for many.
The Sabbath has become a long list of “don’ts”. You cannot do this, nor that, neither the other thing. There arrives a moment where the children and the youth are thinking more in “when is the sunset arriving” than any other thing.
I have a question for the married ones today. Do you remember the day of your wedding? It was wonderful, isn’t it? I hope that all of you say “yes”… or you will get in trouble this evening. One more question, does anyone remember the vows?
In general, we do not remember literally all the vows. We finally push the “yes to all” button and we accept all the terms and conditions without remembering the small wording.
But there’s something that I am sure that nobody, none of you, has included in your vows. Who promised to set apart one day per week to have a family day? I am talking of a day for the family and just the family.
How many marriages fail or have problems due to lack of communication, or lack of spending more free time together? Do you dedicate enough time to enjoy the family, your parents, your children, your spouse?
In this fourth wedding vow, God promises to have a special weekly date with his bride. God promised to pay special attention to the bride. He has promised to spend quality time with you. He has given such importance to that appointment that He has promised to be there no matter what, He will never fail. So, the only question is up to you. God does not say “let’s remember the weekly date”. He says, “(you) remember”, because he will ALWAYS be at the appointment waiting for you. The only one who could fail to be there it is you. It is for this reason why the promise starts with the word “remember”.
He asks us, before telling us the conditions of the date, to remember the date for the weekly family meeting where God will have the space and time to accomplish His promise.
This promise has other little promises within. I would like to review them with you.
God promises that he will bless us, so we will be able to work during all the week. But asks us to remember of that weekly appointment. If we remember that appointment, He promises to stay as well, the rest of the week with us as he said in the three first promises. But this one is special. As He worked six days to prepare our home (this world), after, he consecrated the first following day to spend it with Adam and Eve. That was the first full day of existence of Adam and Eve, a Sabbath. And the first thing that God did is to spend that first day of their life with them. Likewise, He still asks us a special family day to be together and rejoice, to strengthen our marriage with Him. “But the seventh day is a sabbath (consecrated) to the Lord your God (and Husband)”.
God promised to make of this day a day of joy, if we keep the Sabbath correctly, of course. It will be such a day that even those who are with us, at our home, will rejoice as well of that great feast. We will be willing to finish our weekly work to hurry and arrive to the weekly feast, the family day. The whole family is invited, even your friends and pets.
With this promise the time is delimitated, but not limited, since is regularly recurrent. God proposes a very precise day, not other one. We may have an appointment with someone at noon in the main square, but that will be useless if each one appears there at the right hour, and right place but in different days. God’s promise implies that we respect His conditions, in this case, the precise day: The Sabbath (Saturday).
(Verse 9): “Six days you shall labor and do all your work”. God is promising you, not only a date, but also a date that will not interfere in your personal daily plans. As it should be in any healthy couple, there’s room for personal life, and God is saying “we have a special date every week, but I will respect your own time for your business”.
Furthermore, He is promising also that you will work. He does not say “if you work”, He says “You shall work, you will work”. In this promise God is saying that if you respect and commit with this weekly appointment promised by Him, He will provide you the means to work the rest of the week. This is a promise. God promises to provide a “job” or work and the means to develop it. He also asks you to not put this blessing in an upper level than the One who provided it.
God continues saying (verse 10a): “but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God”. He reminds us again the seventh day of the week, in Hebrew, the Sabbat, which means “rest”, precisely for taking a break and rest with Him. In other words, it is a day to “rest” with the Lord, a time to share with Him in family. He has already set apart that time to spend the day with you, and He is earnestly willing to see you, His wife. A family day, quality time in family. That’s what God wants and asks you to remember. He says: “Please, remember that we have an appointment, a family day, a special time to rest all together and take a break in the week”. He has promised that, and it is up to us to remember the appointment.
That promise is so special that God gave instructions, so this day may actually become a meeting full of joy and happiness. God gave us instructions on how to prepare the meeting, so we can enjoy it in its fullness.
(Verse 10b): “On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns”.
In other words, God says, “I want to stay with the whole family, I do not want you to be absent because you have your mind in other issues or problems. Stop doing whatever you do which is not essential in this moment. Furthermore, I would not like that anyone misses the event. I want to enjoy this day with the whole family, with the children I gave you, who are also my children. I really want to enjoy this day with you all. It will not be fair if we are having a good time and to see some employees (servants) in a corner not sharing this joy. I want to see your employee (servant) sharing this joy as well. They are part of the family”.
And God goes even further and adds: “Do not worry about the washing machine, forget it, otherwise you will have to dry the laundry”. (Today we do not have “cattle” nor “beasts for work” but we do have home appliances). It is not because this is a “sin”, but because that will take us time off from laughing, sharing and enjoying the day. The sin is to leave the main Guest without attention in the feast.
And God adds upon all this: “If you have any guest at home, any visitor, that’s even better! He must rejoin us! Or are you ashamed of me? Your friends are my friends, let’s enjoy the friendship all together in this family day!”
After God added this (Verse 11): “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy”.
In other words, God reminds us that He is the Creator and owner of all creation, the earth and all its resources. There is nobody more important than Him, nor above Him. And even being the Highest authority in the Universe, He has set apart this day to enjoy His creation with you. He dedicated a whole day to enjoy His brand new creation and has promised to invite you every week to this festival of joy. To Sanctify in the original language means “to set apart” something, “to reserve” something to someone for a special purpose.
And God reminds us in this wedding vow one promise He already did thousands of years ago, to enjoy His creation with your company, with the entire family, including employees, neighbors, visitors, guests, even pets.
If you are expecting the visit of a King who promised to expend a whole day with you and to share His kingdom with you, wouldn’t you ask for a day off at your job? You cannot miss a day like this! To walk in the forest, to talk with the family, share ideas and experiences and review how is the kingdom doing. This is a too important appointment to miss it because of temporary things. Couldn’t the King provide you another employ if you had lost it because you gave priority to His visit? Let me tell you, the King of kings has also promised that: “Six days you will work”.
The most important Person of the entire world, even in the Universe, is willing to live with you every day, to listen to you any time you talk to Him, to be your Husband, to share good quality time with you and to help you in all domains, every one of your concerns and worries.
God has promised that you will never need a photo of Him, because He is personally at your side at all times. God has promised to stay every minute at your side interested in you, your problems and concerns, your health.
No matter your past mistakes. Despite your wrongdoing, God has promised to be constantly ready to answer each time you call His name and forgive our mistakes.
Would you like to accept this promise? I invite you to pray, asking God to fulfill His promise in you. Pray with the assurance that He is listening to you, as we saw in the third promise. Ask Him to help you to appreciate the quality time He is offering you every week. Do not forget He is the King of kings, the Owner of the entire world and all its content. He can and He will provide anything you need. Thank Him for His promise of sharing a family day with you and ask Him the wisdom to act accordingly and to share this privilege with others. I invite you to pray.