Q10: What does God require in the fourth and fifth commandments?
A: Fourth, that on the Sabbath day we spend time in public and private worship of God, rest from routine employment, serve the Lord and others, and so anticipate the eternal Sabbath. Fifth, that we love and honor our father and our mother, submitting to their godly discipline and direction. (Crossway, 2017)
Leviticus 19:3 – “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.”
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this mean in my relationship with God?
The fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath should be viewed less as a rule we must keep to ensure that God is happy, and more as an invitation from God into human flourishing. The Sabbath, according to the Scriptures, is for our benefit. God has set up the Sabbath to establish a rhythm of rest for humanity. Now, we ought not understand keeping the Sabbath in the strict sense of the law (sun down Friday to sun down Saturday), as Jesus has fulfilled the law and become our Sabbath rest. However, when we engage in Sabbath principles, resting from routine work, disconnecting from that which robs us of life and engaging in things that provide life and rest for our souls, we are drawn in to love God all the more. We are reminded in our resting that God has provided eternal rest for us in Christ, that God is a good gift giver in His giving of Sabbath rest, and that we serve the God who never needs rest even though we do.
The fifth commandment moves from how we are to relate with God to how we are to relate with humanity. However, the command to honor our father and our mother does have significant meaning for our relationship with God. In fact, our obedience to honor our parents flows out of our honoring our heavenly Father. We will not have any desire to honor our earthly parents if we do not first honor our heavenly Father.
- Hebrews 4:1-3– Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seemto have failed to reach it.For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, becausethey were not united by faith with those who listened.For we who have believed enter that rest…
- Psalm 121:3-4– He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
- Ephesians 6:1-2– Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationships with humanity?
The effect that neglecting the Sabbath has on our relationships with humanity is great. When we cease to engage in Sabbath rest as we ought, we have no capacity to keep relationships with others as we ought. We find ourselves tired, stressed, anxious, etc. so we bury ourselves in more work because the to do list never ends or we retreat to some sort of media outlet to “rest” all the while neglecting the source of real rest. When we engage in Sabbath rest, our relationships with others thrive.
The effect that the fifth commandment has on our relationships with humanity seems explicit. Whoever your parents are, honor them. However, certain questions arise with different scenarios. What if our parents are not believers, do we still need to honor them? We do. Now, there are obviously some caveats to this, such as, if they are asking us to do something that is sinful, but that is typically not the case. In fact, our showing of honor to them just might be the means that the LORD uses to call them to Himself. Our honor of our parents has less to do with honoring them than it has to do with honoring God. Another question is, what if I am an adult, out of the house and have my own children, do I still need to honor my parents. You do. The way that honor is expressed will look far different as a thirty or forty-year-old than it did as a three or four-year-old, but it is honor all the same. The three or four-year-old shows honor to their parents through obedience to parental rules, respectful speech, etc.. The thirty or forty-year-old shows honor to their parents valuing the wisdom that long life has provided them or caring for them as they age. The fifth commandment does not become non-applicable, it simply shifts in its application.
- Mark 2:27– And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
- Ephesians 6:1-2– Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
The application of the fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath is just that, keep the Sabbath. Make sure that you are weekly finding a day to disconnect from what is routine, stress inducing, maybe even life robbing, and connect to that which is life giving. That is, intentionally set aside time to worship privately, gather and linger with your family, go for a walk, a bike ride, a run. Keeping the Sabbath is not simply becoming inactive, or “vegging out”, it is connecting to the source of real rest. Make time to rest in Christ.
For the fifth commandment, the application is to ensure that you are honoring your parents. If you are a child still under the care of your parents, are you abiding by their rules, speaking to them with respect, etc. If you are an adult not under the care of your parents, are you attempting to include them in what is going on in your immediate family or are you neglecting them? Are you valuing the wisdom that a long life lived has provided or are you pridefully ignoring them? Are you caring for them as they need or do you not see it as your issue to address? All of this is included in obedience to the fifth commandment.