Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
K. God's Elaboration And Application Of The Ten Commandments
10. God's Elaboration On His Command On The Sabbath
(Exodus 23:10-13)
  1. Introduction
    1. When God gave the Ten Commandments, He revealed He wanted Israel to look to Him alone as Lord and not to worship any other pagan god in any way, cf. Exodus 20:2-4.
    2. God wanted Israel to worship Him alone, a fact that becomes abundantly emphasized in the way God expanded His command on the Sabbath Day in light of ancient Israel's cultural context (as following):
  2. God's Elaboration On His Command On The Sabbath, Exodus 23:10-13.
    1. After giving Moses the Ten Commandments, God enlarged and applied them in Israel's life so that there would be no possible misunderstanding as to what He meant by them, and this elaboration is known as the "Book of the Covenant" in Exodus 20:22-24:11, Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 140.
    2. The tenth part of that "Book of the Covenant", Exodus 23:10-13, in view of Israel's cultural context, reveals how earnestly God wanted Israel to worship Him alone versus any other false gods (as follows):
      1. God's purpose in the giving of the Sabbath Day observance command in Exodus 20:8-10 is given in Exodus 20:11 where the observance testified that God was the Creator of the whole universe.
      2. This view drastically differs from that of the pagan Gentiles around Israel, showing the theological import of the Sabbath rest in view of Israel's exposure to the Gentiles' false beliefs and gods:
        1. Pagan lore held the universe which was a product of the struggles of a hero god to defeat a sea monster had to be held in its orderly state by repeating the myth of this god's victory in cultic worship lest the natural state fail, Bruce K. Waltke, Creation and Chaos, p. 57, 47.
        2. In contrast to such errant insecurity, Israel was to hold that God Who had created the universe against no threatening monster sovereingly ruled over all; working six days and resting the seventh only testified that creation was under the settled, sovereign control of her Great Lord, Ibid., p. 57.
        3. The Sabbath Day rest also stands in vast contrast to what pagans knew of that day: (1) the pagans "feared that their work would not prosper on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth day of the month connected with the four phases of the moon . . . These days, to which must be added the nineteenth of the month, which occurs seven weeks after the beginning of the preceding month, were regarded as unlucky days on which a man should afflict himself, eschew pleasures, and refrain from performing important work, for they would not prosper.'" (Ibid., p. 65 in also citing Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, p. 66) (2) In contrast, Israel was to rest, to find refreshment from her labors in confident trust in God's control of nature, Exodus 23:12.
        4. For this reason, God broadened the Sabbath Day command to include Israel's need to rest every seventh YEAR from working the land for crops, for God as Sovereign Lord of all creation would provide double the produce in the sixth year to keep Israel fed the next two years until the crops of the first year had been harvested, Exodus 23:10-11! (cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Exodus 23:10-11) So, instead of dreading a lack of prosperity on the seventh day as did the pagans, Israel would live joyfully at rest through not only the seventh days of each month, but all seventh year long in the joy of God's past double bounty given in the sixth year that was to keep them going for the next two years in hope of blessings after th at Sabbath land rest!
        5. Israel would thus testify to her reliance upon God alone versus relying on any of the false gods of her pagan neighbors, a testimony God urged in Exodus 23:13 in relation to this Sabbath issue!
Lesson: Beyond just TESTIFYING to His being the Sovereign Creator of the universe, God wanted Israel to BELIEVE this truth and so LIVE in FULL TRUST of God's ABSOLUTE control that she not fall prey to heed the INSECURITY of FALSE beliefs or gods around her! To that end, the Lord BROADENED the Sabbath Day observance to include a Sabbatical YEAR observance of the LAND!

Application: May we BELIEVE GOD CONTROLS all that is around us and so FULLY TRUST Him as opposed to feeling insecure and so stooping to trust in false crutches other than the Lord Himself!