Do you delight to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy? Or is the Lord’s Day a burden to you?

As I prepare to teach Sunday School on the Lord’s Day as a primary (and forgotten/ignored) habit of family discipleship, these words of Walter Chantry do such a beautiful job of getting to the heart of the matter:

…So insensitive have men become to God’s moral law that we must point out that the fourth commandment is speaking of an entire day. Reference is not made to a few hours for church attendance. One entire day in each cycle of seven days is to be kept holy. Six days may be spent in our own work but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord our God.

An entire day is to be ‘kept holy.’ By this the Scripture means that it is to be set aside from ordinary use to be devoted to the Lord God. This portion of time is for sacred use – to worship and serve the Lord. When tables and bowls and forks were called ‘holy’ in Old Testament times, it was meant that they were no longer to be employed in common ways. They were to be devoted exclusively to sacred usage. They were set aside for activities related to the worship and service of God. In similar fashion, this commandment requires that a day of time be completely dedicated to spiritual uses. ‘The seventh day (as opposed to six used for our own business) is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.’ It is his day. He has staked out a claim upon it. It belongs to him.

This is not a narrow or restrictive requirement. A heart that loves the Lord will leap for joy at the prospect of a day with him. Doesn’t a child love to have a day with his father? Of course the worldly will loathe giving any time to God. The self-absorbed will regret any day spent in his presence. Without love for God such a requirement will seem narrow and a heavy burden. But for the godly it is a broad road of liberty and joy. There is an entire day each week liberated from my ordinary recreations and labors to serve the lover of my soul and to be with him.

If a Christian takes a bit of time on the Sabbath for private Bible reading and prayer, if he is faithful in public worship on God’s holy day, if time is spent teaching his children God’s word, time preparing and teaching a Bible lesson, time visiting the sick and poor in Jesus’ name, time witnessing to a friend, time fellowshipping with the saints, time singing praises to God – soon the day seems all too short for the spiritually minded. There is so much to do for God in private, in the family, in the church. there is so much to do in worship and praise. It is a holy day, different from the other six. It is devoted to the Lord in his worship and service.


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