The Nine? Commandments of the Decalogue

Learning Not to Ignore the Fourth Commandment  
The Sabbath has always disturbed believers.  We’ve demoted, altered, abrogated, and challenged its place in the heart of the Lord God.  From the very beginning  (Genesis 2:3) God set aside a day of rest; i.e., He made it holy, setting it aside and designing it, like all His commands, to help people be and stay closer to God.  But…

  • Modern believers have demoted God’s commandment to an anachronism of Judaism.
  • Reformation believers altered the fourth commandment by stipulating believers observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week, regardless of the witness of Scripture.
  • Pharisee believers abrogated the Sabbath; i.e., obedience became an artform of religious chest-beating, rather than a means of spiritual refreshment, a day made for humans (Mark 2:27).
  • Pre-Law believers challenged its observation (Exodus 16:23ff); to say nothing of those who had the fully articulated Law (cf., Nehemiah 13:15ff; John 9:13ff).

SabbathbyJosephDutkoThe Sabbath is important to the Lord God.  Consequences for violation were, and are, dramatic.  When the Sabbath was not observed under the Law of Moses, death could result (Numbers 15:32ff).  Today, the consequences of failing to observe Sabbath are even more obvious—and deadly—stress has been clearly linked to heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, GI problems, and Alzheimer’s (see

My Jesus observed the Sabbath; thus, it is clearly part of our Christian heritage (c.f., Hebrews 4:9).  Why did the Lord God create the Sabbath principle?  God loves us; He deserves to be glorified while we’re here on earth and beyond.  It’s difficult to do so when dead, coughing, fat, depressed, and/or with dementia.

And for those of you like me from Missouri, nothing shows you more about how central the Lord God is to your life when you stop everything and think on Him.  It’s hard.  We’re all so wrapped up in doing, doing, doing.  And then we’re done, or are we?  Sabbath teaches us to see there’s more to living than doing.  And, ironically, our doing becomes more abundant.  A glimpse of what’s to come?

God is smart.  He doesn’t desire our obedience to fulfill some fascist, narcissistic personality.  All of God’s commands are designed to bring us closer to Him; i.e., to be blessed by Him.  When we are closer to Him, He can be glorified, and we get to bask in that glory.  Observe Sabbath—Jesus did.


2 thoughts on “The Nine? Commandments of the Decalogue

  1. It is interesting coming across this post!

    A few days ago I was explaining to my children the importance of keeping the Sabbath.

    The Ten Commandments are guidelines for non-believers and commandments to those of us who believe in God. But when we get to this 4th commandment, it seems that it is relevant to only those of us who believe, since unbelievers “don’t get it”. I hear things like: “But Sunday is the only day we have as a family to “hang” out, go to the beach, visit friends…”

    And those things are important. But apparently God has a point.

    I always wonder why God chooses to do things in the way He does. Of course, He knows best. He is the Engineer of engineers. But with my limited capabilities I can still come up with a few reasons why keeping this day “holy” would make sense only to believers.

    Holy means dedicated or consecrated to God; sacred.

    Why would God command us to keep this one day holy? Shouldn’t we keep every day holy? Why only commanded to keep “one” day and not every day?

    I think God knew our limitations and what would become of our inquiring, over achieving minds and days. I think God knew our nature would be one of exploration, self-preservation, advancement, achievement, and all that selfishness. So a smart God would never expect us to satisfactorily complete tasks we are not capable of achieving on our own or with His help. He was not trying to set us up with this commandment. But He knew our natures. These apparent “negative” natural attributes (like free will) seem to me like necessary “evils” in our lives in order for us to know all the possibilities that can be achieved with our own strengths and what cannot, and how God fits into all this.

    He already knows. But we do not.

    If we lived a life without scheduled maintenance, may it be scheduled medical checkups, or scheduled holy days, we are not providing our bodies, minds and souls with the necessary tools to make the most of this awesome opportunity called life. That is called by some as “living short”.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

    Psalm 37:4
    “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

    Keeping the Sabbath is a way to regroup and an opportunity to get closer to our Maker. It is a way to re-focus in Him, who ultimately has the answers for us. Just like a computer needs to be rebooted (the more often you use it, the more often it needs to be reset), us humans need to be re-set so that we can be closer to our intended nature, more often, during our daily lives. And we alone have the capability to press that button. (Some of us press other people’s buttons attempting to reset them…but that is another topic.) 😉

    The bible, praying, and keeping his other 9 commandments is us like a boat that heads toward the deep sea with a compass. Scheduled maintenance on that boat is imperative for its daily functioning. This is what the 4th commandment does to our lives.

    Some of us have seen this day as a day to give thanks to God and focus in Him because we are just so grateful of what He has done in our lives. We just “do it” because our hearts desire it. No Apologetics needed here. But we should never forget that it is a commandment. When we “don’t feel it”, we should still obey. My biggest blessings have come in moments I did not expect. In moments where I obeyed. Plus just the fact you are obeying, I am sure, has its benefits, just like our kids develop our trust when they obey us no matter what. Actually, it is through these acts that we give our children more responsibilities, and begin to see them as our “equals”.

    Finally my kids understood, but while I explained, I began to think … what things need to be on that scheduled maintenance day in order for it to do its job? And I came across a list, but realized that it was tailored to me. So…the simplest answer is usually right.

    Keep it “Holy” . That was the commandment. Whatever that may mean to you as long as it gets you closer to Him…. All day.


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