Happy New Year! Let’s continue talking about how the 10 Commandments relate to the family.


Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”


The Day of The Lord

Have you ever read about “the day of the Lord?” When God talks about the day of the Lord, it is always associated with the final judgment, the last day when God will finally impose all the necessary penalties for disobeying His Law. The fourth commandment shows us the weekly day of the Lord, or the Lord’s Day (also called the Sabbath in the Old Testament). Much like the final day of the Lord, on the Lord’s Day we are to judge ourselves and examine our previous week’s work as we ready ourselves for the next week of work. This examination is done and any sin we see is confessed and repented of individually and corporately. That’s why there is a time of examination and confession at Christ Church.


In the fourth commandment, God shows us as family members how we are to live in regard to time. The family is to work six days, and rest and worship for one day. The Puritans of old believed that this commandment was just as much about work as it was about rest. This is where the term, “The Protestant Work Ethic, came from. This leads to another question: In the New Covenant, are the children of God still supposed to work six days and rest for one? Yes they are! Hebrews 4:9 tells us that “There remaineth therefore a rest (lit. Sabbath rest) to the people of God.” But the difference now is that our day of rest is on Sunday instead of Saturday because of Christ’s resurrection. The early New Testament Christians did this as Luke tells us: “Now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7).


Families can learn two very important principles from the fourth commandment:


  1. Work is good, and it should always come before play. Parents must teach children, even young children, that work comes first and then play. Give your kids beginning at 2 or 3 years old small jobs around the house to start with like picking up a few toys or cleaning their room (with your help of course) then move up to bigger jobs. Always teach them that the completion of house, yard, or school work comes before play time.
  2. Rest is good, and it is just as vital to learn how to rest. Every Sunday should be devoted to the worship of God and rest. Try to do as little routine work around the house as possible. Try to get as many things done on the other six days so you can rest on the Lord’s Day. This may take some planning and foresight on your part. Just as you show your kids how to work, show them how to rest.


At one time, Sunday was the day when all the stores, businesses, and restaurants closed. This is no longer the case. Many people work 7 days a week without even a thought. At this rate, our society is going to run itself into the ground. From this constantly-working culture come “workaholics” and “sloths.” The fourth commandment corrects both of these sinful behaviors. Remember to work, worship, and rest. This is the rhythm of life God has called us to and it is good.