At the end of His work, God rested (Genesis 2:2-3). From the beginning of time, God instituted the Sabbath. God not only commands this rhythm of rest (Exodus 20:8-11), but it foreshadows the rest He will give to those who love and honor Him once their work for Him on earth is done (Hebrews 4:1-13). The eternal Sabbath is the goal of all who proclaim Christ as Lord.
I cannot stress the importance of the Sabbath enough. God first ordained it by modeling the behavior for us, then enshrined it as the fourth commandment so it would be a practice for all generations to come. We ignore the practice of the Sabbath at the risk of disobeying God and to our peril.
Christians have observed the Sabbath on Sunday since about 150 A.D. To argue whether one should observe on Saturday or Sunday is a worthless debate that distracts from the point of the conversation. The point is to obey God by resting one day a week from our labors. The Sabbath should not only be a day to rest from our work, but to be spent worshipping our Creator God. When God rested, He looked over all His creation and saw that it was good. In a similar manner, our thoughts on the Sabbath should be of God and His glory.
One reason we observe the Sabbath is to remind us of our place in God’s creation. We are not tireless; only God is. We are not in control; God is. Taking a day to recognize our smallness and acknowledge God’s power reorients our perspective and aids in shedding any pride that may have been building inside us. As you enjoy the rest, remember it is only a precursor to an eternal Sabbath when we will recline in the presence of our Creator and Lord.
The fifth commandment, like the fourth, also reminds us of our place. In this commandment, God instructs us to honor our father and mother so we may live long on the earth. From this, we can infer part of our preparation for the eternal Sabbath involves obeying and honoring our parents. To state the obvious, if not for our parents, we would never have come to know the Lord. They brought us into this world, giving us the opportunity to follow Jesus.
Notice God did not place any caveats around honoring our parents. No matter your relationship with them, no matter if they approve of you, no matter if they are good or evil, the Lord commanded you to honor them. While God blessed me with a wonderful father and mother, I have many close friends who come from broken homes or those with parents who have been hateful and even abusive to their children. Honoring your parents does not mean condoning their actions. It does mean forgiving them as Christ forgave you. If you love Christ, you will obey His commandments (John 14:15). So, if you love Christ, you must honor your parents.
As we prepare for the much-anticipated eternal Sabbath, it is important we know and live each of the laws of God. That’s why we are taking some time to walk slowly through the Ten Commandments (see “The Ten Commandments” and “Serve God and God Alone”). To love the Lord is to love and keep His commands. To live in eternity with Christ requires our obedience to Him and that we defer to His Lordship. We are not our own but have been bought at a price to serve our King forever (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). If times are hard, remember your rest is coming in the eternal Sabbath. To prepare for that day, remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Honor your mother and father. Do all things to the glory of God.