Q: What is the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment is: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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. 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.
Our own Pastor Paul did a whole sermon series on the Sabbath last year that I highly recommend. I found it both theological and highly practical; it’s worth a periodic listen.
It’s worth ruminating again just how restful our day of rest is or is not. You may need to admit your sinfulness to your children and resolve together to recover the enjoyment of the Sabbath.
You may find that in stewarding the rest of others in your family you may need yourself a separate time of rest. You may want to have a conversation with the rest of your family in how you can each facilitate each others’ rest.
This commandment comes after profound admonishments to worship God alone and foremost, giving Him and His the utmost reverence. It wrinkles what we begin to see as the severity of God’s glory and perfection because here we see at the end of a week of work, God in his fullness, is grace. An invitation of fellowship and appreciation. This is what worship really comes to, not a gnashing of our wills in a constant quixotic struggle to do right.
Yet this, too, is an impossible command. How hard is it for us to forgive ourselves, let alone receive God’s grace? How difficult it is for us to let go and enjoy the moment — or to let others enjoy the moment. How tempting it is to try and take the edge by doing and striving when all others are resting.
Thank God, Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. He gives us rest even in our inability to rest. Even when we fail to dedicate our worship, He will settle our hearts and bridge the gap as a true High Priest, but with His own sacrifice. He caps our work and makes it right.
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier! No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear, Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
— from “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins