Finding delight in God’s Day

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:

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]. – Isaiah 58:13,14

For many folk, Sunday is simply another day in the weekend. If Sunday is special to them, it is special as a family day or as a day to relax or as a day to enjoy sporting events. Even for many who do go to church on Sunday, the remainder of the day after church attendance they consider to be their time, time to do homework, clean house, pay bills, go shopping, or whatever.

The fact of the matter is that God, who created and who sustains us all, has told us explicitly what His holy will is concerning one day in seven. Just as He has told us that it is wicked to commit murder (6th commandment) and to steal from others (8th commandment), so He has also given us the fourth commandment:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 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 man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 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. – Exodus 20:8-11

In our family, we have used the Westminster Shorter Catechism as an aid in teaching our children Christian doctrine. Some of the questions asked and answered regarding the 4th commandment are:

  • Question 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
  • Question 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
  • Question 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?
  • Question 60. How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
  • Question 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
  • Question 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?

This is the answer to Question 60:

The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the publick and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

Scripture verses are then referenced to substantiate the statements made (which you may see if you go to the online version of the catechism).

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