Don’t Forget to Remember the Sabbath
We all forget things, even when we are told to remember. Could you be forgetting what God specifically said to remember and keep holy: His Sabbath day?
For me, one of the most unpleasant feelings in life is that moment in time when the realization dawns on me:
I forgot to [fill in the blank]!
It could be little things—like being halfway to work and realizing, I forgot my phone on my nightstand. (Been there, done that.)
And it can be big things—like getting up in the morning and realizing you have a speaking engagement later that day that you forgot about and are totally unprepared for. Or sitting in an airport terminal waiting for your flight and getting so wrapped up in something that you forget to get up and board your plane and actually miss your flight. (Yes, this author actually did that once.)
There’s no feeling to compare to that sinking feeling in your stomach when that realization hits you like a ton of bricks . . . and it’s too late to do anything about it.
One of the weaknesses of being human is having the propensity to forget.
According to various surveys, some of the things people are most likely to forget are:
- What they went into a room to get.
- Where they put their keys.
- To take clothes out of the washer or dryer.
Forgetfulness can also be a big business opportunity for some—from Post-it notes (specifically designed to combat forgetfulness) to reminder apps and software.
Forgetfulness can be frustrating and (sometimes) humorous. But there is another thing that most people in our world forget about that is a much more serious matter.
In fact, it is one of the few things in the Bible that God specifically says not to forget.
A short quiz
Before we look at what is really the most forgotten thing, let’s conduct a short quiz.
- Can you name all 10 Commandments found in the Bible?
- What is the only commandment (within the 10) that specifically admonishes us to “remember” exactly what that particular commandment says?
How did you do?
Instead of giving you the answers, here are quick Bible references to help you find the correct answers to the above two questions:
- The answer is found in Exodus 20:1-17. (Or you can look up the list here.)
- The answer is found in Exodus 20:8.
“Remember the Sabbath”
If you are not very familiar with the Bible, you may have been surprised to read the answer to the second question. You may have read or heard the Fourth Commandment many times, but have you taken notice and pondered the verb that is found only in one of the 10 Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”?
The Hebrew word translated “remember” in our English Bibles is zakar. Essentially, it means to call to remembrance, to record or to mark (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon and Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary). When God gave the Fourth Commandment, He basically said:
That should cause us to sit up and take notice. If the Creator of all things emphasizes something by essentially saying—absolutely, positively do not forget this thing—we should probably pay attention, shouldn’t we?
But, of the 10 laws that make up the 10 Commandments, which one is most universally ignored? Which one do most religious people not even try to remember?
The answer is very easy: The Fourth Commandment.
The only commandment that begins with the specific instruction to remember is the very one that most people forget—or choose to ignore.
Three things to remember about the Sabbath day
Here are three essential facts about the Sabbath command that you should consider thinking deeply about:
1. Remember that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week.
The origin of the Sabbath is found in the creation account in Genesis. After creating the various components of life on planet earth, God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2, emphasis added). After resting (ceasing from His creative work), “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” (verse 3).
The seventh day of the week is not just like any other day. It has been blessed and set apart ever since this moment recorded in Genesis 2. To “bless” and “sanctify” means that He set it apart as holy for a special purpose.
The seventh day of the week is not just like any other day. It has been blessed and set apart ever since this moment recorded in Genesis 2. The fourth of the 10 Commandments points back to what had already been declared holy and set apart. It reinforced the specific timing: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:10).
The seventh day corresponds to the modern day we call Saturday. It actually begins at sunset on Friday and continues until sunset on Saturday.
Nowhere in the Bible is the Sabbath day repealed or transferred to any other day of the week.
Some believe that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to the first day. To learn more about the problems with that idea, read “Was the Sabbath Changed to Sunday?”
Others believe that the Sabbath is every day of the week (or, perhaps, whenever we choose to keep it). To learn more about the problems with this idea, read “The Sabbath, Sunday, Every Day or No Day at All?”
2. Remember that the Sabbath day is Christian.
A common belief in mainstream Christianity is that the Fourth Commandment is Jewish—while keeping Sunday (or no day at all) is Christian. But an honest look at the New Testament record shows that the seventh-day Sabbath is fully Christian.
Here are three points that prove this:
- Jesus Christ observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16-31).
- Jesus Christ directly taught that not even the tiniest portion of God’s law would “pass away,” and that whoever “breaks” or “teaches” against any of God’s commandments will be called “least” in the Kingdom of God (read carefully Matthew 5:17-19).
- Jesus Christ taught that the Sabbath was created for humankind (not just Jews) and declared Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).
What’s more Christian than the Sabbath—what Jesus Himself said was “made for man” and He is “Lord of”?
To learn more about Jesus' teaching on the Sabbath, read "Do You Know the Lord of the Sabbath?"
3. Remember that the Sabbath is a blessing—not a burden.
Take a closer look at Jesus’ words in Mark 2:28. He said the Sabbath was made for man (people). God created the Sabbath as a benefit, or a gift, for people!
God created the Sabbath as a benefit, or a gift, for people!Consider what the Sabbath is. It is a 24-hour period of time every week where God commands us to slow down, take a break and rest. Resting is a good thing. Even modern science has discovered that taking a day out of every week to rest—physically and mentally—has great health benefits. God did not create us to work and be active nonstop. Yes, He created our bodies to need physical sleep at night, but He also created our bodies and minds to need weekly rest and refreshment.
Resting on the Sabbath doesn’t mean Sabbath-keepers stay in bed from sunset Friday to sunset on Saturday. Resting can include sleep, but doesn’t mean just sleep. Sabbath-keepers physically, mentally and emotionally rest on the Sabbath. They:
- Slow down their pace.
- Try to enjoy some of the slower, more relaxing things in life that they don’t have time for on normal days.
- They recharge their spiritual “batteries” through extra prayer and Bible study.
- They spend extra time together with their family and friends.
- They gather together to formally worship and learn of God at church services.
Those who rest on the Sabbath every week have learned it is an incredible blessing. They love God’s Sabbath and all the benefits it brings—they don’t have any problem with forgetting it. They consider it a day of spiritual and physical rejuvenation.
The people behind Life, Hope & Truth take the admonition to remember the Sabbath day very seriously. We strive to remember and keep the Sabbath, not just because we are warned about forgetting it, but because we believe that it is a law essential to our spiritual lives and a benefit to our physical and emotional health.
It is not a burden, but is a blessing. A blessing we love to share with others.
To learn more about how to observe the Sabbath to get the most out of it, read “How to Keep the Sabbath Holy.”
A challenge to start remembering the Sabbath day
Though the Sabbath is forgotten by most in this world, you can choose to remember it!
The Sabbath, when properly integrated into a person’s life, not only brings physical rest and rejuvenation at the end of the week—but will also help you understand God and His way of life better. By resting and observing it, you will come to understand that it is a “delight” (Isaiah 58:13), not a burden!
Are you ready to stop forgetting what God says to remember?