Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that the Lord gives instructions to Moses regarding the Sabbath. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to understand and practice a Sabbath principle in our lives.
Read Exodus 31:12-15
I. Sacred Sabbath. The Lord talks to Moses. In our Sunday School material, He tells Moses to tell the Israelites to observe the Sabbath. To desecrate the Sabbath is to be cut off from the community and put to death.
- God’s structure. Notice in vss. 12-13 that the Lord told Moses what to tell the Israelites they must do. In like manner, God is still sending His instructions to the one He chose. The instructions often include instructions for God’s people to follow.
In other words, God sends leaders to lead and followers to follow. Let’s make sure that we follow God’s structure. There are too many who strive to go around who God has sent to give leadership.
The best way to know if God has sent the instruction is to compare the instruction with God’s word. If the instruction is not contrary to God’s word, you should strive to obey and trust God for the results. The instruction can be against your preference without being against God’s word.
- Sabbath principle. Notice in vss. 14-15 that the Lord talks about the Sabbath. First, there are the issues related to the Sabbath being a holy sign of the covenant with God. Think about how the rainbow and circumcision have been recently discussed as signs of covenant.
Second, in the Bible, Sabbath is normally a reference to what we would call Saturday. And there were legalistic rules attached to what could and could not be done on Saturday.
Third, even though Christians are not under the Mosaic Law and restricted to Saturday rest and worship, we should make some regular time to rest and worship. This is more of a Sabbath principle than Sabbath law.
Let’s work on living by a Sabbath principle. This should include some regular time to worship God as well as rest our bodies and minds. Sunday would be great, because we can all worship together. However, jobs force us to do the best that we can with what we must deal with.
- Discipline. Notice in vs. 15 that disciple was to be administered to those who disobeyed God. On one hand, thank God the church is not called to kill anyone today.
But on the other hand, most of our churches have very little discipline of any kind. Think about how little happens to people who cause trouble in our churches and even in our church meetings.
The excellence that God deserves will never be achieved without a healthy amount of discipline. Let’s work on having a healthy amount of discipline in our lives, families, churches, and communities.
Read Exodus 31:16-17
II. Continual Covenant. In our Sunday School material, the importance of the Sabbath is reinforced. The Sabbath is to be a sign between the Israelites and the Lord. As the Lord worked six days and rested, so are His people to do the same. The instruction is for generations to come.
- Upcoming generations. Notice in vss. 16-17 that the Sabbath was to be kept for generations to come. On one hand, some scholars believe this instruction was to be carried out until the New Testament. They would say that we are no longer under legal obligation to keep the Sabbath.
But on the other hand, even during the church age, we should help upcoming generations to live by a Sabbath principle. We should help each generation make regular time to worship God and rest their minds and bodies.
We should help them see the value of using Sunday as their Sabbath, since so many others already worship on Sunday. Let’s work on passing the Sabbath principle on to the upcoming generations. It will be easier to do this, if we live by a Sabbath principle ourselves.
Read Exodus 31:18
III. Tablets of Testimony. The Lord finished speaking to Moses. In our Sunday School material, the Lord gave Moses two tablets of the covenant law. The tablets were inscribed or written on by the finger of God.
- God’s expectations. Notice in vs. 18 that God had some expectations for His people, as noted on the tablets of the covenant law. In like manner, God still has some expectations for His people.
Today, God expects us to make sure that we are saved by accepting Jesus as our savior by faith. God expects saved people focus on loving God and others, as we love themselves. Let’s work on living up to God’s expectations.
Conclusion: Let’s work on understanding and practicing a
Sabbath principle in our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.