Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil."
Isaiah 1:13, "The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with"). Matthew Arnold refers to this contrast, and says, "That related to a time when the kingdom of Judah yet stood, when the service of the temple was in full course, the whole exterior part of the Jews' religion splendid and prominent. At such a time a prophet might naturally undervalue the whole of this exterior part in comparison with the inward part. But during the exile in Babylon all the services and sacrifices of the temple had ceased, and the one testimony of faithfulness to their religion which the Jews among an idolatrous people could give, was the observance of their sabbath; their sabbath was the one outward thing which brought their religion to their mind. Hence its observance acquired quite a special value." Inquire what signs of their allegiance to Jehovah, and their obedience to his commands, pious Jews in Babylon could give to those around them. None could be so important or so effective as to show themselves a nation of sabbath-keepers, because Jehovah, their God, had commanded sabbath-keeping.
I. SABBATH-KEEPING A FORMAL ACT. As such it is of comparatively small importance. It bears good relation, indeed, to the physical health and the social order of a community, providing seasons of rest and change, and reminding of the claims of soul as well as body. But if sabbath-keeping be the mere formal act, with no deeper meaning in it, then it may be judged as a matter of expediency, and valued as a wise and excellent Mosaic arrangement, mere or less wisely imitated by other rulers.
II. SABBATH-KEEPING A MORAL STATE. Souls must keep sabbath, or it is not really kept. Souls must keep sabbath
(1) as an act of obedience to God;
(2) as an expression of love for worship;
(3) as a sign of loyalty and affection for God.
There is never any difficulty about the proper ordering of the day when the soul is full of the sabbath-spirit.
III. SABBATH-KEEPING THE FORMAL ACT WHICH EXHIBITS THE MORAL STATE. Man cannot test the soul-conditions of his fellow-man save by observing the expressions of that condition in his conduct. God can read soul-states, but, for purposes of revelation and teaching, he treats us as we treat each other, and asks for signs in the life of what may be in the soul. Therefore he still looks for careful and faithful sabbath-keeping. - R.T.
Blessed is the man that doeth this.
(Prof. S. R. Driver,D. D.)
3. As the Saviour of this chosen people from the bondage of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15). Of these great truths the Sabbath was a weekly remembrancer, and its observance by the people a perpetual recognition and profession, besides the practical advantages accruing to the maintenance of a religious spirit by a weekly recurrence of a day of rest.
(J. A. Alexander.)
II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT WE HAVE TO DO THIS DUTY. Blessed is he that doeth it. The way to have the blessing of God upon our employments all the week is to make conscience and business of Sabbath sanctification; and in doing so we shall be the better qualified to do judgment and justice. The more godliness the more honesty (1 Timothy 2:2).
( M. Henry.)
( M. Henry.)
( M. Henry.)
(D. Rees.)"That keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. The best evidence of our having kept the Sabbath well will be a care to keep a good conscience all the week.
( M. Henry.)
1. This holy time is certainly thus .abused when it is spent in mere idleness.
2. When it is devoted to worldly amusement.
3. By all labour which may not fairly come under the description of work of necessity and mercy.
(J. N. Norton.)A little boy was on a visit to his uncle, and when the morning of the Lord's Day came, the uncle said, "Come, my man, you and I will go out and fish awhile! "Uncle," answered the boy, very gravely and somewhat .... puzzled, does God require us to fish here on Sunday at our house He doesnt allow us to do it." The fishing excursion was given up, and good came of the child's pointed sermon.
(J. N. Norton.)
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