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1. What reasons does the Bible give for resting on the seventh day of each week? Check all that apply.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
The Fourth Commandment contains several important reasons for keeping the Sabbath holy. First, God tells us to do this. Second, the Sabbath is God’s holy day—it doesn’t belong to us. Third, God rested on the seventh day of creation and blessed it, and that blessing extends to us when we keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath also provides a weekly opportunity to worship God with other people. As such, it forms an important glue for the fragile fabric of human society.
In addition to speaking the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, God also wrote them on stone with His own finger. He then told Moses to place those stone tablets in the Ark of the Covenant, the centerpiece of the sanctuary’s Most Holy Place. There is definitely something special about these ten commands!
For what reasons do you think God started the Fourth Commandment with the word “remember”? Why is it so easy for us to forget the Sabbath?
What reasons does the Bible give for resting on the seventh day of each week? (Check all that apply.)CorrectIncorrect
2. What did God tell the Israelites to do every seventh year?
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. 6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, 7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.
Every seventh year the land was to enjoy a rest. In this year, no crops were to be planted, and no harvest was to be gathered. The food that grew naturally was to be eaten by the beasts of burden, which also would be enjoying a rest from much of their work.
What does this seventh-year Sabbath rest for the land and the animals reveal about God’s concern for the environment and nature? Do you think this cycle was only intended for ancient Israel, or could modern society today benefit from implementing these principles?
What did God tell the Israelites to do every seventh year? (Fill in the blanks.)
“But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: though shalt neither thy field, nor thy vineyard” (Leviticus 25:4).
3. How did God intend the Sabbath rest principle to affect society at large on the jubilee every fiftieth year?
13 In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. 14 And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: 15 According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: 16 According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. 17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.
Every fiftieth year, after seven cycles of seven years, Israel was to observe a jubilee. In this year, all Hebrew slaves were to be set free, and land was to revert to its original owner. The jubilee was intended to prevent a few wealthy individuals from creating a small group of landowners and a large landless class. Sale of land would have really amounted to a long-term lease. However, dwellings in most walled cities were exempt from this provision; their transfer was permanent unless redeemed within a year after the sale.
If ancient Israel had faithfully observed the jubilee every fifty years, how might it have impacted their society and culture? Would this be a society in which you would want to live?
How did God intend the Sabbath rest principle to affect society at large on the jubilee every fiftieth year? (Fill in the blanks.)
“In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his . And if thou sell aught unto thy neighbor, or buyest aught of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not one another” (Leviticus 25:13,14, KJV).
4. What attitudes and actions will form a part of true religion?
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
The prophet Isaiah pointed out that true religion eliminates intolerance and oppression, and leads us to share the spiritual and physical blessings of Sabbath rest with other people.
Why might God, speaking through Isaiah, have described this other-centered way of living as a fast? What must we fast from in order to live this way?
What attitudes and actions will form a part of true religion? Check all that apply.CorrectIncorrect
5. What additional blessing is promised in Isaiah 58:8 as a reward for other-centered living?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
God promises that “thine health shall spring forth speedily” when we practice true religion. Modern science continues to link stress with a host of diseases and ailments, and stress frequently comes when we are focused on our own needs and problems. Shifting our attention to helping other people not only benefits them, but it can also reduce our own stress, and therefore help improve our health!
What link might there be between our society’s constantly increasing case load of chronic and life-style induced diseases, and our self-focused, materialistic worldview? Is it possible to escape from this way of living? How might a weekly Sabbath rest help us do this?
What additional blessing is promised in Isaiah 58:8 as a reward for other-centered living?
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6. What change in attitude and habits does God call us to?
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The Fourth Commandment calls us to “remember” the Sabbath, and many of us have forgotten this special day because we do our own pleasure on it. In much of the world, Saturday has become the day off—a much-anticipated opportunity for recreation, amusement, and shopping.
What promises does God give when we choose to start honoring Him by observing His Sabbath? Do you think these blessings are spiritual, physical, or both?
What change in attitude and habits does God call us to regarding His holy Sabbath? (Fill in the blanks.)
“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own , nor finding thine own , nor speaking thine own : Then shalt thou thyself in the Lord…” (Isaiah 58:13,14, KJV).
7. What will those who live in the new earth do every Sabbath day?
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
The book of Isaiah ends with a beautiful promise that all those who live in the new earth will gather to worship God every Sabbath.
The Sabbath originated as a memorial of God’s work of creation (Exodus 20:11). After sin entered the world, the Sabbath also became a promise and symbol of God’s power to save from sin (Ezekiel 20:12 and Hebrews 4:10-11). In the new earth, the Sabbath will be a perpetual memorial of God’s re-creation of a sinless earth (Revelation 21:1-5).
What do you look forward to in God’s re-created new earth? For what reasons might all God’s creatures in that perfect world gather to worship Him every Sabbath?
What will those who live in the new earth do every Sabbath day? (Fill in the blank.)
“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to before me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 66:23, KJV).