August 26, 2006

Delighting in the Day

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall do no work…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20.8-11

Have you ever bought a used car? If so, one of the first things you inspected was the odometer. It’s not that mileage is the only indicator of the condition of a car…or even the most important indicator…but it is a good indicator isn’t it? The odometer tells more than simple mileage statistics. It also gives a general idea as to how hard the car has been driven, how much wear and tear might be on the engine, etc. So, we use the odometer as a gauge for measuring a car’s overall desirability.

May I suggest that the Lord’s Day functions much the same as an odometer does for a car-buyer? Sunday is a gauge of sorts—measuring the sincerity of our Christian conviction. Isaiah says we observe the day, not merely by externally obeying the rules—going to church and refraining from frivolous recreation and unnecessary work—but by positively delighting in the day (see Isaiah 58.13-14). We can tell how serious we are about the Lord by whether or not we get fired up for Sunday—a whole day set aside for worship, praise, study, and rest! Let me give you some reasons why I say this is so:

1. God gave us the Lord’s Day for our good—for our physical and emotional well-being. But how do we demonstrate that we believe that God knows what is best for our bodies and minds? And how do we demonstrate thankfulness for God’s goodness to us? Largely by delighting in the Lord’s Day. By taking advantage of the day of rest that God has given to us.

2. God gave us the Lord’s Day as a testimony to a godless world. Another purpose of the Lord’s Day is to give us opportunity to show our friends and neighbors that God is important enough for us to set aside a whole day, holy to Him. And how do we give the testimony? By delighting in the Day. By treasuring the word of God and the local assembly of the saints more than we treasure the NFL or the beauty of a freshly mowed lawn.

3. The Lord’s Day comes to us as a command. Christian observance of the Lord’s Day stems from the belief that the 4th commandment (like the other nine) has abiding significance and relevance for New Testament believers. And how do we show our love for Christ but by keeping His commandments? Strange as it sounds, God commands us to delight in the Lord’s Day! And we show how much we love by how much we delight!

4. The Lord’s Day is our primary opportunity for worship and learning. Sunday is the main occasion when we are spiritually encouraged, morally challenged, and graciously called to believe in God’s Son. This is most important! If we do not delight in the day—we may miss the Son of God in all His glory! Without Sunday and its worship, all of us would be far less spiritually mature…and many of us may never have heard the gospel! Should we not, then, praise God for this all-important day? Of course! And one way we do so is by continuing to observe and delight in the day!

Make no mistake—The Lord’s Day is not the only indicator of our Christian commitment. It is not even the most important indicator. But it does say a lot about our Christianity. It reveals the depths of our faith in, gratefulness toward, obedience to, and delight in God! So…how is your gauge reading?

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