Friday, September 17, 2010

The Sabbath

For my OT interpretation class, my professor assigned a PDF chapter out of a book titled, The Ten Commandments: Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church by Patrick Miller, a retired professor from Princeton Seminary, and just as Dr. Portier-Young said, his chapter did not disappoint. I'd like to quote to you a short section from the chapter on the Sabbath:

"The people of ancient Israel were far more concerned about release from toilsome labor than about ensuring that the work got done. For those who think that divine judgments of Genesis 3 created a fixed order that cannot be ameliorated, the Sabbath command is one of the things at work in God's way to offset their force. The power of work to control human life is forever relativized in the Sabbath. There is no eternal assembly line in the community that lives by these guidelines. The Sabbath helps to guard against one of the primary idolatries to which many, if not all, are prone: idolizing our work by making it the center value and meaning for our lives. The Sabbath relativizes human work and makes it possible regularly to set aside our goals and plans, our ambitions and accomplishments, to think and care about the God who created us and God's work, about God's plan and our place in it. The Sabbath, therefore, is both a safeguard against one of the central ways in which we violate the First Commandment and also a barrier against the constant inclination to justify ourselves and to define ourselves by our work, what we do. The Sabbath cuts human beings loose from their work and calls them to do nothing but give praise to God. It is a constant reminder—and exemplar—of what the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism says is the goal of human existence: "to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." (emphasis original)

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