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The Sabbath As A Sign

We read in the scriptures: “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17.

The Sabbath is thus the sign of God’s creatorship.

This is clearly stated. The Sabbath is not God’s sign because Jews are Jews, but because God is God and He is the Creator. And He created in six days and rested on the seventh day 2,500 years before the Jewish nation existed. This is God’s own stated reason for making the Sabbath a sign. All the inhabitants of all God’s worlds combined could not erase these facts.

James G. Murphy, in A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Exodus, says, “The act of creation is the origin of all title to the creature and to the obedience of the intelligent creation. The creation of man is commemorated in the fourth commandment. Hence it contains the fountain-head of all authority in God and all duty in man.” – Page 144.

The Sabbath is not merely a day of physical rest. We need that, but any day would do for that. It is not a day merely for spiritual refreshment, sorely and surely as we need that. It is both these and more. It is a sign of God as creator.

On his part it is the sign of His creatorship, with all the obligations to us ward that devolve upon Him because of the act and fact of creation. It is the sign of His right to rule over us, the symbol of His gracious and timeless sovereignty.

On our part it is the sign that we gratefully acknowledge Him as our Creator and accept His right of title to and rulership over us and all things. It is a sign that as His creatures we assume the obligations that naturally come to us in this relationship.

It is God’s flag, the symbol of His sovereignty, woven in the loom of heaven out that intangible and precious something men call time, and raised over His fair earthly dominion in the freshness of creation’s morning. The Sabbath is a matter of holy duty and a thing of infinite beauty.

“My Maker and my king, to Thee my all I owe; Thy sovereign bounty is the spring whence all my blessing flow.

“The creature of Thy hand, on Thee alone I live; My God, Thy benefits demand more praise than I can give.

“Lord, what can I impart when all is Thine before? Thy love demands a thankful heart; the gift, alas! how poor.

“O! let Thy grace inspire my soul with strength divine; Let every word and each desire and all my days be Thine.”

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