Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 28, 2017

“keep the sabbath day holy”: “we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter”

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah 17:19-27.

Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and stand in the public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, as well as in all the gates of Jerusalem;  and say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, and all Judah and all inhabitants of Jerusalem who come in through these gates:  Thus says the Lord, “Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem.  You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers.  Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.

“But it will come about, if you listen attentively to Me,” declares the Lord, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.  They will come in from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country and from the Negev, bringing burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the Lord.  But if you do not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.”’  Jeremiah 17:19-27.


If we keep the sabbbath holy, then we will more likely have time to gather and worship God.

If we keep the sabbbath holy, then we will more likely be in the mental condition to worship God.

If we keep the sabbbath holy, then it will be more likely that more people will gather and worship God (because they will not have us to do business on that day).

If we keep the sabbath holy, then the LORD will bless us and not punish us.

There are also certainly other very good reasons to keep the Sabbath holy.

And, in any event, even if there were no apparent reasons to keep the sabbath holy, we should keep the sabbath holy simply because the LORD commanded it.

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 of the Lord your God;  in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.  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.

But despite the fact that there are very good reasons to keep the sabbath holy and despite the fact that this is one of the Top 10 commandments of the LORD, we still will not do it.

Just like there are very good reasons to keep the commandment “You shall not covet.” and it is also one of the Top 10 commandments of the LORD, sin takes opportunity through the holy and righteous and good commandment (whether it be “You shall not covet” or “keep the sabbath holy” or any other commandment) and produces every kind of violation of the commandment and results in the spiritual death of us.

“…  I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”  But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;  for apart from the Law sin is dead.  I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;  and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;  for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.”  Romans 7:7-11.

But, there is hope!

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  Romans 7:4-6.


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