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In the Gates

A Witness to the World

The Fourth Commandment


Exodus 34.21

Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.”

Exodus 23.12

Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.”

Exodus 35.2, 3

Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.”

We must not be a cause of others having to work on the Lord’s Day. Even if they are servants or aliens to God’s covenant, the way we keep the Lord’s Day must not encumber them with work. They need rest as well, and, while unbelievers typically feel no compunction about breaking the Lord’s Day, this does not free us to participate in their disobedience.

No work is so urgent – save those of necessity and mercy – that it may be allowed to corrupt the one day God has set aside to Himself. Imagine the powerful witness to a befuddled world if the followers of Christ could begin to practice the Lord’s Day as God intends!

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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