Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our Good, God’s Glory

Sabbath Study, Part 24

Because of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness, it is right for us to ask in humble bewilderment, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Ps. 8:4). Why does God show kindness to sinners by offering them rest (among many other acts of mercy and grace)? The answer to this question is illustrated in our next Sabbath story.

Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”

The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him. (Luke 13:10-17)

The ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation.
“He condemned Jesus for relieving on the Sabbath an infirm woman, who had suffered for eighteen years, when he would himself perform more labor for the relief of an animal from thirst for a single day” (Justin Edwards).

Does not each one of you.
“It was their tradition and not the Sabbath which Jesus had broken, and he here attempts no other justification of himself than to show that he is guiltless under a fair application of their own precedents” (J. W. McGarvey).

Loosed from this bond.
The miracle Jesus performed was not a work of necessity, for this woman had been sick for 18 years and could have gone another day without being restored. However, her healing was an act of mercy, and as such fit perfectly well within the bounds of Sabbath limitations.

In these New Testament stories of so-called Sabbath breaking (and there are more examples to follow), Jesus is showing us the greatness of both His love and humility. He said elsewhere that He came to serve, not to be served (Mr. 10:45). We learned in Mark 2:27 that God designed the Sabbath for the good of man, and we see throughout the New Testament Jesus illustrating this principle by healing people on the Sabbath. Through His example, Jesus demonstrated that the Sabbath was designed to be in the service of man: to benefit him, to restore him, to improve his quality of life.

That’s not to say that man is at the center of God’s purposes. On the contrary, God is most concerned with glorifying His name; that is ultimately why the heavens exist (Ps. 19:1, 97:6; Rom. 1:18-21), why the world exists (Num. 14:21; Ps. 72:19; Is. 6:3; Hab. 2:14), why God came to the earth as a man (Jn. 12:28; 17:1, 5), and why Christ is coming back to establish His kingdom for all eternity (2 Thes. 1:9, 10). God’s glory is at the center of all He does, and it should be at the center of all we do (Mt. 5:16; Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor. 10:31).

The reason God condescends to serve mankind is so that His name might be glorified. As John Piper famously says, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. This story in Luke is a good example: “She was made straight [Jesus served her, for her benefit],” and the result was that she “glorified God [the final end product of any and all God’s works].”

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

Commentaries Used
The Family Bible Notes, by Justin Edwards
Commentaries and Topical Studies, by J. W. McGarvey

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Works of Mercy

Sabbath Study, Part 23

The preceding incident (Matthew 12:1-8) is immediately followed by another “Sabbath encounter” Jesus had with the Pharisees:

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. (Matthew 12:9-13)

When He had departed from there.
Jesus went into the synagogue on the same day of the previous incident (see Mt. 12:1-8), but it appears that He stayed there—or in the vicinity—for at least a week before this particular instance occurred (see Mr. 3:1, Lk. 6:6).

Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
Jewish law allowed for medical treatment only if a man’s life was in danger. Other acts of healing were forbidden. The nuances of these man-made Sabbath laws had reached outlandish levels of self-contradiction. For example, according to John Gill, spice could not be rubbed against the teeth as a healing agent, but the same spice could be used without limitation in eating. This shows that the Jews had lost sight of the purpose of the Sabbath—for the benefit of man, not to place a needlessly heavy yoke upon him.

How much more value then is a man than a sheep?
If it is allowable to show mercy to sheep (and other animals) on the Sabbath, how much more allowable should it be for us to provide aid for our neighbor in time of need?

From this story, we learn that the Sabbath law allows for “works of mercy” (as church leaders have often called them) in addition to works of necessity. When we come across someone in need on the Sabbath, it is more than lawful to provide help.

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

Commentaries Used
An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by John Gill

Monday, February 22, 2010

Works of Necessity

Sabbath Study, Part 22

The book of Mark describes the incident we examined in our last post, but with an additional statement by Jesus that sheds more light on the purpose of the Sabbath:

“And He [Jesus] said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’” (Mark 2:27)

The Sabbath was made for man.
“That is, the Sabbath was intended for the welfare of man; designed to promote his happiness; and not to produce misery, by harsh, unfeeling requirements. It is not to be so interpreted as to produce suffering, by making the necessary supply of wants unlawful. Man was not made for the Sabbath. Man was created first, and then the Sabbath was appointed for his happiness, Ge 2:1-3. . . . The laws are to be interpreted favourably to his real wants and comforts. This authorizes works only of real necessity, not of imaginary wants, or amusement, or common business, and worldly employments” (Albert Barnes, on Matthew 12:6).

The functional purpose of the Sabbath is to be of service to man. In His infinite wisdom, the Creator of the universe provided one day out of seven to be a blessing to man, and that blessing is in the form of rest. This truth is not, of course, an excuse to do anything and everything we want on the Sabbath. Wants and needs are two separate categories; sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don’t. Because we are sinners by nature, we should be careful not to equate all wants with necessities. Sometimes something we want may not actually be good for us. In providing us with the Sabbath, God designed to meet our real needs, not our imagined needs.

From this Scripture passage, we see that the Sabbath law allows for “works of necessity” (as church leaders have often called them). Jesus appeals to the example of King David: when he and his men were fleeing from Saul and faint with hunger, the High Priest allowed them to partake of the holy bread (i.e., food set aside only for the priests), even though in normal circumstances that was forbidden. Similarly, Jesus’ disciples plucked heads of grain on the Sabbath because of their need to eat. With the Sabbath having been created for man’s well being, it is ludicrous to deny man’s well being in order to “honor” the Sabbath.

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

Commentaries Used
Notes on the New Testament, by Albert Barnes

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Field of Grains

Sabbath Study, Part 21

The New Testament helps flesh out the true nature of the Sabbath rest. It is interesting to note that many of Jesus’ healing miracles were intentionally performed on the Sabbath. There seem to be at least two reasons for this: 1) By expanding (so to speak) on the concept of the Sabbath, Jesus was establishing His divinity, putting Himself on equal footing with God; and 2) Jesus was correcting the misuses and abuses of the Sabbath rest, helping His people to more fully enjoy God’s provision of it.

We must not make the mistake of calling Jesus a Sabbath breaker, simply because the Pharisees accused Him of such. They also accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard (Mt. 11:19). It is easy and convenient for us to say that Jesus broke the Sabbath all the time, but to say that is to side with the viewpoint of the Pharisees. In reality, Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father. No divine law—including the commandment to honor the Sabbath day as holy—was ever broken by the Savior.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus never revoked God’s command for a weekly Sabbath rest. On the contrary, His repeated use of the Sabbath as a catalyst for confronting the Pharisees shows the importance of the commandment. Jesus wanted to make sure that its purposes did not continue to be misconstrued.

Christ’s first confrontation with the Pharisees over the Sabbath is recorded in Matthew 12.

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:1-8).

At that time.
It is important to note what “time” this took place. Jesus had just finished talking about the subject of rest. Look at what he said just prior to this incident: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Straightaway after offering a promise of rest for the souls of men, Jesus used the Sabbath as an object lesson.

Your disciples are doing what is not lawful.
This was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to proclaim the end of the Sabbath requirement (if it really had ended), or the upcoming end of its usefulness (if it was going to soon be abolished). Instead, Jesus responded with several statements that served to clarify the application of the Sabbath rest.

Profane the Sabbath, and are blameless.
The priests were commanded to offer sacrifices even on the Sabbath (Num. 28:9-20), and if a newborn’s eighth day fell on the Sabbath, he was still supposed to receive circumcision (Jn. 7:22, 23).

“The Sabbath was the busiest day in the week for the priests. They baked and changed the showbread; they performed sabbatical sacrifices (Nu 28:9), and two lambs were killed on the sabbath in addition to the daily sacrifice. This involved the killing, skinning, and cleaning of the animals, and the building of the fire to consume the sacrifice. They also trimmed the gold lamps, burned incense, and performed various other duties. The profanation of the Sabbath, however, was not real, but merely apparent. Jesus cites this priestly work to prove that the Sabbath prohibition was not universal, and hence might not include what the disciples had done. The fourth commandment did not forbid work absolutely, but labor for worldly gain. Activity in the work of God was both allowed and commanded” (J. W. McGarvey).

Greater than the temple.
“The Jews had a saying, that in the temple there was no sabbath. They looked upon the temple as sanctifying all actions done there. To obviate this, (saith our Saviour), In this place is one (that is, I am) greater than the temple. The temple was but a type of me. If the temple can sanctify so much labour, will not my authority and permission, think you, excuse this little labour of my disciples?” (Matthew Poole).

The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
Notice the wording Christ chose. He gave Himself a title: Lord of the Sabbath. It would be meaningless to call Himself the master of a defunct institution. No, as Lord of the fourth commandment (and every other commandment), He claimed the authority to explain the purpose and practice of the institution, as God originally designed it.

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

Commentaries Used
Commentaries and Topical Studies, by J. W. McGarvey
Annotations upon the Holy Bible, by Matthew Poole

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

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Delight and Joy

Sabbath Study, Part 19

[Just so there is no confusion: we have not examined, and will not examine, every Old and New Testament passage on the Sabbath. This study, while extensive, is not designed to be exhaustive.]

In Isaiah 58, we find a Sabbath passage that helps correct our natural thinking. We are prone to consider the Sabbath command a burden, but we are encouraged to see it for what it really is: a blessing.

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor [glorify] Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13, 14)

If you turn away…from doing your pleasure.
There is a kind provision in this prohibition. In our modern western culture, we allow ourselves to enjoy just about any pursuit or activity on the Sabbath in the name of Christian liberty. (It is legalistic—an unnecessary burden—to restrict our activities on Sunday, so the argument might go.) This passage instructs us not to do that, not because God is trying to keep us from enjoying ourselves, but because He wants us to find and experience true delight.

Because of indwelling sin, we are prone to avoid what we are commanded to pursue. We’ve all experienced this principle at work in our minds when we settle down for a time of extended prayer or Bible study: suddenly we are acutely aware of all the projects we need to work on, all the chores we need to complete, all the unresolved issues we need to deal with…and with everything vying for our attention, we wonder if now really is the best time to commune with God.

So it is with the Sabbath rest. God commands us to abstain from going our own way because He knows indwelling sin will kick in and desire to do anything but take advantage of the Sabbath. It isn’t legalistic or burdensome to avoid “what we want” on the Sabbath, for indwelling sin is quick to blur the line between what we think is good for us and what really is good for us.

My holy day.
“This is the very way in which the Sabbath is mostly broken; it is made a day of carnal pleasure instead of spiritual ‘delight’” (JFB).

Call the Sabbath a delight.
“Man's ‘own words’ would ‘call’ it a ‘weariness’; it is the spiritual nature given from above which ‘calls it a delight’ (Am 8:5 Mal 1:13)” (JFB). Our required response to the Sabbath is possible only because of God’s heart-changing grace, for we are naturally prone to call the Sabbath a duty and not a delight.

Nor speaking your own words.
“In all we say and do we must put a difference between this day and other days” (Matthew Henry). Shannon and I have been trying to avoid conversations about “normal” weekly matters (i.e., business or school projects that need working on). It is helping us to enjoy a more consistent state of rest throughout the Sabbath day. By the grace of God, the troubles of Monday can (generally) wait patiently enough until Monday.

Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD.
Delight in the Sabbath is directly linked to a delight in the Lord. That doesn’t mean that all who delight in the Lord delight in the Sabbath (just as it is true that not all of God's elect believe in election), but God promises that when His children find delight in the Sabbath rest, they will also find delight in the giver of that rest.

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

Commentaries Used
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by Matthew Henry

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Sabbath Song

Sabbath Study, Part 18

Of the 150 Psalms, only 1 is listed as being written specifically for the Sabbath. We aren’t going to go through the whole thing, but I wanted to look at the first few verses.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. (Psalm 92:1-6)

A song for the Sabbath day.
“The subject is the praise of God; praise is Sabbatic work, the joyful occupation of resting hearts. Since a true Sabbath can only be found in God, it is wise to meditate upon him on the Sabbath day…. The Sabbath was set apart for adoring the Lord in his finished work of creation, hence the suitableness of this Psalm; Christians may take even a higher flight, for they celebrate complete redemption” (Charles Spurgeon). As much as the Psalmists and other Old Testament patriarchs benefited from the Sabbath, how much more can we benefit, having a view of redemption from the other side of the cross.

It is good to give thanks.
“When duty and pleasure combine, who will be backward? To give thanks to God is but a small return for the great benefits wherewith he daily loadeth us; yet as he by his Spirit calls it a good thing we must not despise it, or neglect it. We thank men when they oblige us, how much more ought we to bless the Lord when he benefits us. Devout praise is always good, it is never out of season, never superfluous, but it is especially suitable to the Sabbath; a Sabbath without thanksgiving is a Sabbath profaned” (Charles Spurgeon).

Made me glad through your work.
We have seen on several occasions that the Sabbath is an opportune time to remember the work of God on our behalf; it is because of His work that we can find rest. It should be no surprise, then, that the Psalmist mentions this truth in his Sabbath song.

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

Commentaries Used
The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Nehemiah: An Exemplar

Sabbath Study, Part 17

Here is one of my favorite Sabbath stories in the Old Testament. It’s an engaging description of Nehemiah’s godly zeal in reinstating some forsaken Sabbath practices in Judah.

In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions. Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.

Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”

So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day. Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.

Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day.

Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy! (Nehemiah 13:15-22)

Spend the night.
In a somewhat humorous turn of events, the merchants stayed outside the gates all night, so eager were they to sell their goods. Not until Nehemiah threatened them with harm did they disperse.

Remember me.
“So far is he from thinking that what he had done did properly merit a reward in strict justice that he cries earnestly to God to spare him, as Jeremiah (Jer 15:15)…. Note, The best saints, even when they do the best actions, stand in need of sparing mercy; for there is not a just man that doeth good and sinneth not” (Matthew Henry).

In other words, a perfect Sabbath observance is no more meritorious in God’s eyes than the basest sin—that is to say, not at all. Even in the midst of reinstating aspects of God’s law, Nehemiah saw his need for the mercy of God, which comes apart from our adherence to the law of God.

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

Commentaries Used
An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by Matthew Henry

Monday, February 01, 2010

Repentance-Fueled Passion

Sabbath Study, Part 16

While overseeing the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah leads the nation of Israel in collective repentance and renewal. Israel, broken over its sin, covenanted once again to honor the Lord. One aspect of the peoples’ repentance involved a recommitment to honor the Sabbath.

If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. (Nehemiah 10:31)

While other people groups had no qualms about selling goods on the Sabbath day, the Israelites abstained from such activity. The lack of conviction on the part of heathen nations didn’t seem to deter Israel in this regard.

Does this mean that we cannot participate in any commercial activity on the Sabbath (eating at restaurants, buying merchandise, etc.)? There are different schools of thought on that, and I’m not quite sure where I fall. Do I think it would be better if businesses remained closed on Sundays so that we could all enjoy more rest? Yes. Will my eating/purchasing habits alone change the course of Knoxville’s Sunday business practices? Not likely. So would abstaining from eating out or buying things on Sunday do any good?

Of course, I know I’m not called to do the right thing (if abstaining is the right thing) only if I think it will change the world; I’m to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do before God. If no one but God is watching, there’s still plenty of an audience. I’m not responsible for what the world does with Scripture, but I am responsible for what I do with Scripture. What God requires of a servant is not success (as the world might view it—i.e., making a huge impact on scores of people), but faithfulness (1 Cor. 4:2).

Is the fact that I’m having a hard time committing to a particular course of action a sign that I have a hard heart? Possibly. I guess the first step is to ask myself if I would at least be willing to entertain the thought of abstaining from “marketplace activity” on the Sabbath. If I lack this willingness, something may very well be wrong. (I don’t think it’s ever a good sign when one answers “No” to the question, “If God asked you to give up your rights to ________, would you be willing to do it?”)

So, I have yet to come to a solid conviction on this particular Sabbath issue. However, I didn’t want to keep from posting this particular passage. Whatever the case, I hope it at least provides food for thought. Nehemiah 10:31 is a part of the Bible, and all parts of Scripture are beneficial for us to meditate on (Ps. 19:7-14; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17).