Does The Fourth Commandment Matter?

Do we need the fourth commandment today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Ten Commandments and said that I don’t think the fourth one applies to all of us seeing as I don’t think it can be known from general revelation. However, does that mean it is absolutely useless? Not at all. Does it have any place for us today? Indeed, it does.

For one thing, the commandment reminds us that one day of the week is to be separate from all the others. Pastors and those who do a large portion of their job on that day can be excused and use another day. We can also say that if all medical personnel and others were to stop one day a week, we would all be in trouble. (I definitely know that not everyone in our nation is Christian, but this is hypothetical)

Also, Jesus makes it clear that at least some work is done on the Sabbath in the New Testament. Animals are led to where it is that they can get a drink of water and their basic needs are taken care of. Naturally, if there is an emergency on the Sabbath day, you are allowed to work then to stop that crisis. Whatever role we give to the Sabbath, as Jesus says, man was not made for the Sabbath. Sabbath was made for man.

In that sense, we could say the Sabbath was not meant to be a duty really. It was meant to be a gift. Consider what God was saying to Israel. “Work hard those six days a week, but on the seventh, make sure you don’t work. I’ll make sure you’re taken care of then.”

That would be a major reprieve, but at the same time, it would be a major test of trust for the people. For us today, that would not be an issue really. We can have food stored in our refrigerators and pantries and clothes stored in our closets and money stored in the banks. The average person back in that day did not have that.

Sometimes we think it is hard to trust God when times are bad. Could it perhaps be the opposite? We don’t know how to trust God today because too often times are good and the mildest thing that throws us out of our comfort zone would be seen as laughable to the people back then?

For me, when Sunday comes, one thing I do is take a break from online debates. The rest of the world can handle it that day if they want to. If someone emails me a question, I don’t answer it until the next day. Of course, there would be valid exceptions. If someone asked me something in person at church, I would likely help, and if Mormons came to my church, as has happened at a church I used to attend, I would likely say something then, but those are the exceptions.

The day is to be holy meaning it is set apart. It is different from the other days of the week. It is also the way God did things. If God doesn’t work on one day, it’s quite arrogant of us to think we have to work all seven days.

The commandment is not meant to be a burden. It’s to be a joy. It’s a shame that when we get to the time of Jesus, it looks like it had been turned into a burden.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)