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In the Gates

Creation and Providence

The Fourth Commandment

Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy


Exodus 20.8-11

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

The second difference between this and the Deuteronomy account is in the motive for the Sabbath. Here we are to “remember” the Lord’s Day as a reminder of the creation and God’s rest upon completing His work.

Here I think a twofold focus is in order. The Sabbath should lead us to consider the wonders of creation and to see them as the works of the Lord, manifesting His glory and calling us to worship. These, in turn, should remind us that God has rested from His work and calls us to join Him in that rest. As we rest on the Sabbath, reflecting on God’s work and His rest, we reorient our souls to the proper framework for working out our salvation: This is our Father’s world, and He has brought us into His rest in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Use the Lord’s Day actively to concentrate on and celebrate the work and rest of God, and you will be prepared for the week to come as the Lord 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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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