The Fourth Command: Breathe!

A Sabbath Day

A Day of Different

Sabbath isn’t two hours at church. It isn’t listening to a sermon online. It is a day to breathe. A day that is different than the other six. Different doesn’t mean that instead of slaving around US Steel, I slave around the house working on the honey-do list. That’s just different work, not a different day.

A Sabbath is an intentional day of breaking the grinding and exhausting routine of the other six days. What is that day for you? Do you have one or are they all the same?

Having a day set apart minimizes the idols of materialism and pride. By not working a day I am saying, God, your provision meets my needs. By not working a day, I’m acknowledging the world can get along just fine without me. Could I make more money working on a Sabbath? Sure. But it’s the same issue with tithing and giving. Who do I trust? When I honor God with my tithe, I believe that God can do more with 90% than I can do with 100%. Do I think God can do more with my six days than I can do with seven? This was always Israel’s struggle. They wanted to cheat a little. Let’s just do a little business on the Sabbath. Just get ahead a little. It’s only a little here and there.

Sabbaths are about trust in God and his ability to meet my needs. Think of it as a different day; a break. For many of us, how about a day away from connection to the web, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, games, and maybe TV? It’s a day to breathe. Just the thought has some of you twitchy with withdrawal. One of our pastors this week told me he and his wife looked at each other one night and there they were on the couch, alone, both consumed with their smartphones. They decided, enough is enough and together they closed both their Facebook and Twitter accounts. What would it take for you to have a different day?

A Day of Worship

I believe that every day is a day of worship as we do everything to the glory of God. But we don’t do that corporately every day. The early church began by meeting every day but then moved to a corporate gathering for worship and preaching once a week on the Lord’s Day. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else on that day; it just means that nothing else is more important on that day. Worshiping him. Serving him. Getting vertical with him in worship and prayer. A day for God.

“Freedom from secular chores secures freedom to serve the Lord on his own day. Matthew Henry says that the Sabbath was made a day of holy rest so that it might be a day of holy work….Physical recreation and family fun will not be excluded, but worship and Christian fellowship will come first.” (J.I. Packer, Keeping the Ten Commandments, p. 67)

Worship is the priority on a Sabbath day. The New Testament urges us to make this a priority. We are not to forsake getting together (Hebrews 10:24-25). Churches are called in the Pastoral Epistles to be beehives of teaching and singing and serving and loving. This takes time and we always give time to our priorities. The Sabbath allows for it.

One of the easiest signs of spiritual illness is when people are not prioritizing the worship of God. Over and over again I hear, “Where’s so and so? I haven’t seen them.” We begin looking, and sure enough, something has gone terribly wrong spiritually or morally.

I want to urge you to simply resolve to have a weekly Sabbath day, a Lord’s Day, and make God and his worship the priority in it. Once a week. Not once a month or every other week. Once a week.

Parents, the priority you make church and worship will leave a lasting impression on your children of where your priorities are really at. Model it for them. This doesn’t guarantee they will embrace it, but if you model not prioritizing God one day out of seven, you’ll bat a high percentage of your kids doing the same. Have a day of worship. Breathe.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

©2014 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address ( on the copied resource.

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