Reading: Exodus 31:12-18
The Sabbath Day (or Sunday for the church today) is important to God. He commands the keeping of the Sabbath Day five times in Exodus. This is not mere repetition; each time God adds more information till a complete picture of the day’s significance emerges. Today we learn that the Sabbath “is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (vs 13). God reveals here that the Sabbath Day is set aside as a special day to promote the knowledge of God and the sanctification (holiness) of His church.
God has a covenant with Israel in which they have to know and honour Him as God. To impress this upon them God sets aside a place and time. First He commands that they must build a magnificent tabernacle symbolizing that God lives among them. The tabernacle is the place of worship for Israel; there they are taught about God. God also appoints time, that is, an entire day for this. On the Sabbath Day they must rest from their daily work and, together as congregation, focus their attention on God. The tabernacle (located in the middle of Israel’s camp) and Sabbath Day together put the Lord in the middle of Israel’s existence. On the Sabbath Day, when Israel gathers for worship, they grow in deeper knowledge, holiness and love for the Lord. Before entering the tabernacle the Israelites must be ritually clean, reminding them to repent from their sins. The tabernacle sacrifices and activities pointed to Israel’s redemption, giving them great joy and reason for thankfulness. On the Sabbath Day extra offerings and prayers are made, and the priest would teach the people about God’s work of redemption, the law and bless them. Everything in the tabernacle impressed upon the people that their God was holy and their redeemer. Through all this Israelites grow in love and holiness for God.
Key text: Ex 31:13 “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Question: How does the Sunday help you to grow in holiness?