Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Sabbath Blessings

Sabbath Study, Part 20

In Jeremiah 17, there is a lengthy description of Judah’s sin (doubling as a description of the sin of all mankind), followed by Jeremiah’s plea for deliverance. God’s answer begins with an exhortation to honor the Sabbath:

Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.

“And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,” says the LORD, “to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it, then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, accompanied by the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the LORD.

But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 17:21-27)

Take heed.
Adam Clarke is only one commentator among many who believes that a neglect of the Sabbath leads to a neglect in other areas of Christian duty: “From this and the following verses we find the ruin of the Jews attributed to the breach of the Sabbath; as this led to a neglect of sacrifice, the ordinances of religion, and all public worship, so it necessarily brought with it all immorality. This breach of the Sabbath was that which let in upon them all the waters of God's wrath.”

And it shall be.
Matthew Henry points out the magnitude of the blessings God promises for those who hallow the Sabbath by ceasing from their labors:
  1. The court shall flourish (v. 25) with the unbroken continuation of the Davidic line, ruling in glory and prosperity.
  2. The city shall flourish (v. 25) and remain forever (i.e., it shall not be destroyed), so that it may answer to its title, “The Holy City.”
  3. The country shall flourish (v. 26) with an increase in people and produce (evidenced in part by the abundance of offerings).
  4. The church shall flourish (v. 26) as the people bring their offerings of praise to the house of the Lord; that is, they will worship the one true God and not serve manmade idols.
“And this is the effect of sabbath-sanctification; when that branch of religion is kept up other instances of it are kept up likewise; but, when that is lost, devotion is lost either in superstition or in profaneness. It is a true observation, which some have made, that the streams of all religion run either deep or shallow according as the banks of the sabbath are kept up or neglected” (Matthew Henry).

Commentaries Cited from
Hall, Kay.
Online Bible. Beersheba Springs: Ken Hamel, 2000. CD-ROM.

Commentaries Used
Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke
An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by Matthew Henry

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