Friday, July 27, 2012
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When someone in our house felt overworked or unfairly overloaded, sometimes you'd hear them say, kiddingly I think, "Hey, I thought Lincoln freed the slaves!" Well, actually, I think the members of our family might have been right about all of us. We do need an update on that Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, you might be surprised who the slaves are today, and the slave master. The slaves are nice people, successful people; maybe someone like you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Freeing the Slaves."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is found in Deuteronomy 5:12. Now, this is the second time around to a new generation of Jews that the Ten Commandments are given. In the original Ten Commandments it said that you are to keep the Sabbath Day holy - a day of rest. But notice there is a new addition this time; I'll read it to you.
"Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy as the Lord your God has commanded you." Now, that's pretty much the same as the first time around in Exodus 20. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant..."
Now, this sort of closes up the loophole, saying, "Okay, I won't work, I'll just get the other guys to do it." It goes on to say, "...no, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals." Now, just in case you had a visitor in the house and you were going to have him mow the lawn for you, it says, "...not the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day."
Now, get this command here. He talks about our working life, he acknowledges that we are going to be working much or most of the time, but then He says, "It is my commandment that you get regular rest and regular worship during that time." Then He goes back to the subject of slavery. He says, "There was a time, my people, when you had no choice about working all the time. You were slaves then. There was a time when you had to work without rest, but now you can choose, and I want you to choose regularly, on a weekly basis, to stop and rest and stop all the busyness around you and bring it to a halt."
Now He's saying, "Don't lose your priorities now that you can choose to rest." You know, in our world today we are like all accelerator and no brakes. We're living lives without Sabbaths. They're supposed to be part of the created order of God. Think about your own life; the rat race; the gerbil wheel you run on. Your times off maybe are getting farther apart, they're shorter. Your family is beginning to feel your absence because you've been running to work so much. You've piled one commitment on top of another, so you can't ever stop. And you've got so many competing commitments, there's just no time to rest. There's little time left just to crash, to play, to laugh, to think, to meet your Lord. You're not doing your work; you are your work.
Stand back, would you? There's a better way to live with regular rest as ordained by Almighty God. Otherwise, you're a slave. You're a slave to your work. Don't live in violation of God's command to rest. The alternative is slavery. And remember, Jesus freed the slaves.