"Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day." (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)The sabbath was God's gift to mankind; a day of rest and a day for honoring God. On the seventh day, God rested from all His work and, in the sabbath, He invites us to rest from our works as well. "So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His." (Hebrews 4:9-10) The sabbath is a day to lay down our own works and to take up God's works; to silence our own words and to speak the words of God.
"If because of the sabbath , you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 58:13-14)There are three things that governments must learn from the sabbath.
- Man lives to serve God not the state. In fact, it is the state that is to serve man, not man the state. In communist Russia, the people were expected to sacrifice for and to serve the state. In return the state was to provide for all their needs. However, citizens are to serve God, and the role of government is to help establish an environment where they can worship freely and without fear.
- There is a part of every man that uniquely belongs to God. The state cannot and must not attempt to lay claim on the whole person. While there is that which every citizen owns the state, in obedience and loyalty, the state does not own the whole person. There is a part of each person's life that is given in love, devotion, and service to God.
- Government must never seek to interfere with a person's free exercise of worship. The sabbath was granted to man without the agency of the state. People should have the free right to enjoy this gift and to worship God as He should desire, not as the state would desire. God's commandment to Pharaoh was to let His people go and "You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice them to the LORD our God." (Exodus 10:25) Not only had Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews, but he had repressed them and hindered them from worshiping God. The free worship of God is not a privilege granted by the state, but it is a right given by God that must be honored by all governments and states.
Technorati Tags: Book of Deuteronomy, Foundations of Governance, Ten Commandments, The Robe, David Robison
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