Workers’ Holiday


Workers’ Holiday

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
(20:9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
(20:10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
(20:11) For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

These verses in this passage refers to Sabbath and more than the Sabbath. The Sabbath command has various commands implied in it, that we should not miss as we concentrate on the sabbath.

1. Sabbath day holiness
2. Six days working
3. Self-employment

We will address each of them in reverse order.

Self-employment

This point was made by His Excellency R Masakui the Ambassador of India to Zimbabwe on September 23, 2018 while addressing ASI Mega convention in Harare. He said and i paraphrase him that, “the sabbath command is about self employment too. The sabbath keeper is admonished to keep the sabbath with all those he is in charge of, son, daughter, workers, animals, even visitors, etc. The sabbath keeper is not asked to ensure that his boss keeps the sabbath, because he wasn’t expected to have a boss, he was expected to be the boss.” Therefore self-employment is the ideal standard that all should work towards. In self-employment wealth and freedom is created. While this perception of the text may not be fully exegetically sound, it does make good advise to consider in our daily pursuits. The good ambassador further said, “we should not be asking for sabbath offs from employers, we should be giving our workers the Sabbath offs since we are the employers.” This is good food for thought. But employers should also see in this text, a divine command directing them to give Sabbath offs to their workers.

Six-days Working

The Sabbath command directly requires that before the Sabbath rest, we need to put in six days of labour. In order to keep the Sabbath you need to put in six days of hardworking. Six days of doing all your work. All your work means no procrastination. All your work means keeping deadlines. Six days of work means the Sabbath is not for the lazy who are reluctant to work. In that sense therefore the Sabbath is a worker’s holiday! Its a holiday for it comes after work. God worked for six days and then rested on the sabbath, the workers’ holiday. We too should work diligently for six days and rest on the sabbath, which is the workers’ holiday. The work here is all your work. even the unemployed have house chores to do. Students have home work. The employed have work. Children must be taught to work. The sabbath only makes sense to those who work for six days. The Sabbath is a worker’s holiday. God given weekly workers’ holiday!

The Sabbath Command

This passage in Exodus 20:8-11 is the fourth commandment. Christians are expected to continue keeping the ten commandments even after Jesus died and resurrected. The death of Jesus did not disable the ten commandments. The death of Jesus disabled the laws of Moses, the written code that was concerned about religious festivals, Sabbaths, new moon celebrations, etc. (Colossians 2:14-17). According to Deuteronomy 31:26 it is the law of Moses not the ten commandments that stood opposed to Israelites, Colossians 2:14, and which also was concerned with new moon celebrations, religious festivals and the Sabbath.

The Sabbath in the ten commandments therefore wasn’t affected when the law of Moses came to an end at the cross of Jesus. Hebrews 4:1-11 discusses three rests. Rest from slavery in Egypt and wandering in the desert that Joshua failed to give Israelites when they crossed into the Promised land. Joshua failed because even in the promised land Israelites continued sinning and therefore couldn’t get the desired rest. Secondly it refers to rest from sin that all of us need, and we are admonished that if we hear the Holy Spirit speaking today we must respond and get that rest today! Third and last rest in this passage is the Sabbath weekly rest from six days work. Hebrews 4:9 emphasises that there remains that weekly sabbath rest, there is no change about the weekly Sabbath day for God’s people. Since God rested, therefore everyone who believes in God must rest on Sabbath.

Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

We are under the grace of God means we are forgiven our sins, the sin of breaking of God’s law. We are not under the law means, we are no longer guilty of breaking God’s law, because we have been forgiven. We are not under the law does not render God’s law irrelevant but it sets us free from guilt because of forgiveness. Being under grace means we no longer feel guilty because of forgiveness and now we gladly keep the commandments, not because we want to be saved, but because we are already forgiven and saved. Therefore we keep the Sabbath because we are under grace and not under the law. We keep the Sabbath not as a means of salvation but as a response to having been saved! Therefore Sabbath keepers are under the grace of God and not under the law!

Revelation 1:10 “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,” The Lord’s day is the Sabbath. The Bible in all Sabbath commands refers to the Sabbath as the Lord’s day (Exodus 20:10 / Mark 2:28). The Lord’s day therefore doesn’t refer to a different approved day of worship for Christians. The sabbath is the Lord’s day.

Luke 23:54 “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
(23:55) The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. (23:56) Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”

The day Jesus died and was buried is what we call Friday and what the Bible calls Preparation day before the Sabbath. Friday is the day before the Sabbath. Friday evening is when the Sabbath begins.

Luke 24:1 “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (24:2) They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, (24:3) but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Jesus resurrected on Sunday. The Bible calls Sunday the first day of the week. If Sunday is the first day of the week, and Friday the day before the Sabbath, therefore the Sabbath that Jesus and his disciples always kept and which is biblical is Saturday.

Conclusion

The Sabbath command is about God giving workers (1) a work ethic, to do all their work, to do it in six days without lazing around and preferably to be self-employed and create work for others (2) an opportunity to demonstrate Obedience to Him, by keeping the prescribed biblical Sabbath without adopting their own in rebellion to scripture.

In the Sabbath command is a blessing for our daily work and for obedience to God. May we keep the biblical Sabbath and therefore enjoy its attendant blessing, in Jesus name, Amen!(c)rkesis@gmail.com (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts but do not edit the content or the authorship…thank you and be blessed!)

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