Ten Choices That Will Change Your Life
Week 4: Exodus 20:8-11
The Ten Commandments instruct God’s people how to live life to the fullest. The Commandments are not a way to earn salvation. Rather, they show us how saved people are to live. Today we will look at the fourth commandment – keeping the Sabbath. Work and rest always seem to be in tension with one another. Finding the appropriate balance can be difficult, especially when we are pulled in many directions. The fourth commandment shows us that we are created to work hard and rest well. The rhythm God established for his people mirrors his work in creation: six days he worked and the seventh day he rested. Jesus himself, during his busy earthly ministry, took time to get away and rest. Our regular time of rest once a week is an opportunity to worship the Lord, reconnect with family and friends, and take time to be still to hear from God. So let’s choose to work hard - it is a holy endeavor. And let’s choose to rest well for it is a good gift from God.
Do you look forward to weekends or look forward to them being over? Why?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Exodus 20:8-10a) The Sabbath was intended to be a time set apart (holy) for rest, refreshment, and worship. What does the phrase “Sabbath to the LORD your God” mean? How is this different from just taking a break from work? See also Isaiah 58:13-14.
2. (Exodus 20:10b) The Sabbath was both an individual and communal activity. Gathering everyone together for community worship once each week was an important part of ancient Sabbath keeping and is part of our practice today. Why do you think God wanted his people to do this regularly? What additional benefits are there in ceasing our work and reflecting on God together as a community?
3. (Exodus 20:11) The rhythm of six days of work followed by one day of rest is patterned after God’s activity in creation. Given this, do you think the command to have a Sabbath rest was only relevant for Israel in ancient times or is it something God still wants us to pay attention to today?
4. (Mark 2:23-3:6) In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees had distorted the original intent of the Sabbath by focusing too much on what specifically was allowed and not allowed in terms of work. What do Jesus’ actions in this passage reveal about his thinking on this point? How can we allow Jesus to be the Lord of our Sabbath and keep it from degrading into a legal obligation or something that has to be done just right to be acceptable? What does verse 27 mean?
1. Does the idea of making time for a regular Sabbath rest in your schedule stress you out? One reason that practicing regular Sabbath rest can be hard is that we may feel like we can’t afford to take that time off, especially during busy times of life. But who really controls the outcomes in our life? What is the connection between resting and putting our trust in God? How can resting and letting the world go by as we focus on God for a day be an act of faith? See Exodus 34:21 regarding God’s thinking about skipping the Sabbath in busy times. See Psalm 4:8 on the connection between peaceful rest and faith in God’s sovereignty over our lives.
2. Keeping the Sabbath means more than just going to church on Sunday, although worshiping as a community is important. God intended the Sabbath to be restful, refreshing, and worshipful. What kinds of things are restful, refreshing, and worshipful for you? What will draw your attention back to God each week? What keeps you from living this out fully now? What steps can you take to move closer to what God desires for you?