Friday, August 3, 2012

Meditation on the 3rd Commandment

You shall keep the day of rest holy

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

How does one honor the day of rest?  If it is a day of rest, it must mean that we should cease to work on that day right.  We should take time to stop our busy and hectic lives to enjoy life a little more, to spend more time with family and friends and to enjoy “me” time.

While rest is a necessary part of our workaholic lives and rest serves a valuable purpose in rejuvenating our work ethics and our motivation…it is not what the commandment is talking about.  Certainly Jesus rested from his work of preaching and teaching at times, because as a human He also needed time to recuperate…so God is not saying that it is wrong to rest.  The Third Commandment speaks of another kind of rest.

The ultimate reason for a day of rest is so that we, as the people of God may have the time and opportunity  to participate in public worship, that we may assemble to hear and discuss God’s Word and then praise God with prayer and song, by proclaiming to each other, what Jesus has done for us.  For Christians, Sunday has been the day appointed upon which we may gather together and keep it holy.

The day, in and of itself, is not holy.  It is holy because of what is customarily done on that day.  It is the setting aside the mundane tasks of this life and gathering or assembling around God’s Word so that we may be fed and refreshed by it.  Yet it is not just Sunday that should serve as a day of rest, but every day.  Every day the Christian should go about his business with God’s Word in his heart and upon his lips.  On Sunday, when the Christian gathers for worship, he focuses on the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer…so that every day of the week the Christian’s life may be regulated by God’s Word.

We can never have enough of God’s Word.  Even if the Christian thinks he knows the Word of God, he will never know it well enough.  Where the heart stands idle and the Word of God is not heard, the devil breaks in and does his damage before the Christian can realize it.  The Devil, the world, and the flesh is at work trying to pull us away from the Word of God.  The Word is the only defense we have against them.  They are always trying to get us to forsake God’s Word, but as long as we keep God’s word sacred in our hearts, by daily learning and applying it…the Devil cannot win, God’s Word will defeat him.

The Christian will never regret spending time in God’s Word.  “It always awakens new understanding, new pleasures, and a new spirit of devotion, and it constantly cleanses the heart and its meditations.”  The word’s of God are not dead and idle words, but effective and living.  Only His words have the power to put the devil to flight…if that was all it did that should be enough.  Yet God’s Word gives us more…it gives us Christ, through whom we have peace with God.  Amen.

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