One of the most profound and obvious changes in our contemporary times in the priorities of families is how we shape our Sunday to fit into our lives. Sunday has been for centuries set aside for worship and rest as ordained in the Bible. As we go down memory lane, it takes us to church as a family and then to grandma’s for roast beef and mashed potatoes, laughter, and fellowship. We would all agree that each day of the week takes on a significance in how we purpose it. Choosing to shape our Sunday so that our Sunday can shape us is critical to a family’s bond and heritage.
In Creation, God established a pattern for mankind that we should work six days and rest one. This rest was intended to reflect on all that God had done. This pattern goes forth throughout the Bible. Isaiah 58:13 (NLT): “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.” After Jesus was resurrected, the Christian church began to meet on the “first day of the week” (Acts 20:7), which according to the Jewish calendar, would be Sunday (rather than our contemporary idea of Monday being the start of the week).
What significance does Sunday have in your family? Are you shaping it, so it will shape you? By God’s Divine Design, He gifted us with a day to meet, rest, learn of Him, and gain knowledge and strength to go at life again.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.”Exodus 20:8-10
God certainly had a lot to say about a day of rest and worship beginning in Creation and throughout the Bible. The keeping of the Sabbath was a sign that God truly ruled Israel; and for you and me, what we do with Sunday tells others whether God rules us. Work followed by rest is expressed by the Hebrew word for Sabbath, which means “cessation” (a set apart day). Jesus had something to say about this day also, as we see in Mark 2:27-28: “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’” This set apart day is a gift to mankind, it is for our good, and it is a day for God and family. Society was not to seek advancement outside of submission to God; therefore, all work except acts of mercy, necessity, and worship were forbidden on the Sabbath.
The Old Testament prophets recounted God’s blessings upon those who properly observed the Sabbath. Jesus, like the Old Testament prophets, kept the Sabbath Himself. Luke 4:16: “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” As the Bible teaches, Christians acknowledge that God still expects His people to set aside one day in seven to Him. This being a creation ordinance that is binding until this creation comes to an end and our ultimate rest as Christians is realized in heaven.
Because the Sabbath is a part of the moral system known as the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath is morally binding upon all people for all time. John Philips writes, “A wise and benevolent heavenly Father had planned for the Sabbath to be a weekly blessing to His own. One day in seven was to be a holiday from work. The body could have its quota of rest, and the soul and the spirit could be restored by the worship of God. He Who knows our frame and who remembers that we are, but dust instituted the Sabbath for our good. The Sabbath was made for man.” Now our rest is not in a day but in a Person. Now the law is replaced by the Lord. Our rest is in Him.