Wednesday in the Word is the podcast that explains what the Bible means and how we figure it out. Unlike a traditional sermon, the focus is on learning to figure out what the Bible says. In addition to going verse by verse through the Bible, we go concept by concept focusing on what the original author intended to say in context. We also compare interpretative options and talk about how to choose between them. This podcast has no advertisements. Nor do we ask for donations. It is free to all who want to learn. More at: WednesdayintheWord.com
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04 Sabbath: Did Jesus change the Sabbath?
How did Jesus add to our understanding of Sabbath? He taught that Sabbath is a rest that is given, not earned, and that our “job” is to enjoy it, not to live up to it.
* Sabbath is to remind us who God is. We rest to remember God.* Sabbath reminds us that God created us (Exodus 20).* Sabbath reminds us that God chose us (Exodus 31).* Sabbath reminds us that God redeemed us (Deuteronomy 5).* We rest by refraining from doing the work that sustains our lives (Exodus 16; Exodus 35).* Sabbath is more than what you do or don’t do on the outside. Sabbath is about where your heart is and why you are doing what you’re doing (Numbers 15).* What constitutes keeping the Sabbath changes with culture (Nehemiah 13).* We are to cease striving and relate to God (Psalm 46).* Sabbath is a “foretaste of the feast to come" (Hebrews 3-4).
23One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” - Mark 2:23-28
* In this story, the Pharisee ask a thoughtful question and receive a thoughtful answer.* After the end of the exile, the scribes and rabbis developed a rigorous code of regulations and restrictions about what was allowed and prohibited on the Sabbath.* A rabbi's views on the Sabbath became a kind of litmus test on his credibility. The Pharisees are greatly interested in what Jesus thinks of the Sabbath.* Depending on your views, the disciples of Jesus are breaking a number of the rabbi's Sabbath rules.* 1Samuel 21:1-6: The prophet Samuel has anointed David as the next king of Israel, but Saul is still on the throne. Saul wants to kill David. David is fleeing for his life. David appeals to the priest at Nob for food and the only food available was the holy shew bread (Leviticus 24:5-9). David argues that the journey he is on is holy as he is obeying the Lord. The priest agrees and gives him the bread.* Jesus concurs that David rightly understood. It is more important to obey God than to follow the rules of religious practice.* If David's men can violate the laws of the Sabbath because they are obeying the commands of their king, how much more can the disciples violate the laws of the Sabbath because they are serving the Messiah himself who is the LORD of Sabbath?
1Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. - Mark 3:1-6
* This story has a different tone. Here the Pharisees are seeking a reason to accuse Jesus.* The answer to Jesus' question ought to be obvious: Is it lawful on ...
03 Sabbath: When do we keep the Sabbath?
Sabbath rest is yet to come —the rest we enjoy today anticipates the real Sabbath rest that awaits us in the kingdom. That future rest is granted to those who have saving faith in Jesus Christ.
* Sabbath is to remind us who God is. We rest to remember God.* Sabbath reminds us that God created us (Exodus 20).* Sabbath reminds us that God chose us (Exodus 31).* Sabbath reminds us that God redeemed us (Deuteronomy 5).* We rest by refraining from doing the work that sustains our lives (Exodus 16; Exodus 35).* Sabbath is more than what you do or don’t do on the outside. Sabbath is about where your heart is and why you are doing what you’re doing (Numbers 15).* What constitutes keeping the Sabbath changes with culture (Nehemiah 13).* We are to cease striving and relate to God (Psalm 46).
7Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. 10Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ 11As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” 12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. - Hebrews 3:7-13
* The author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95, which refers back to Exodus 17.* To test or try the Lord is to refuse to believe despite the fact that you have plenty of evidence. * At Massah & Meribah, the children of Israel tested God by demanding proof that He was taking care of them, despite the fact that He had already given them ample proof. God refuses to let that generation enter His the promised land, because of their unbelief.* Hebrews warns, if you hear His voice, don't demand further proof, rather encourage one another to believe.
14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. - Hebrews 3:14-19
* Entering God's rest is entering God's presence.* Entering God's rest is tied to belief.
1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward,
02 Sabbath: How do we keep the Sabbath?
How do we keep the Sabbath? The simple command is not to work. We stop the activities that sustain our lives and instead we do the things that foster our relationship to, understanding of and dependence on God.
* God commanded Sabbath for His people as a reminder of their dependence on Him. * Sabbath is to remind us who God is. We rest to remember God.* Sabbath reminds us that God created us (Exodus 20).* Sabbath reminds us that God chose us (Exodus 31).* Sabbath reminds us that God redeemed us (Deuteronomy 5).
Two Examples of rest
* My grandfather spent Sunday afternoon sleeping in a hammock. We grandchildren were told he was "taking his Sabbath."* Mr. and Mrs. Busybeaver work twice as hard on Saturday, preparing for Monday and accomplishing all their chores by sunset on Saturday. They spend Sunday playing games and taking walks.
Which one is right? Are they both right? Or neither right? Which one is this Sabbath?
The children of Israel have been delivered from slavery in Egypt, crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and are wandering in the Sinai desert. They complain that God brought them out of Egypt to let them die of hunger in the wilderness. God provides supernatural food for them from heaven.
25Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.” 27On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day. 31Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” 33And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” 34As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept. 35The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36(An omer is the tenth part of an ephah.) -Exodus 16:25-26
* Before we have a command to observe the Sabbath, God's people were forbidden to gather the manna on the seventh day.* This prohibition is linked to the same themes: God chose us; God created us and God redeemed us (Exodus 16:4; Exodus 16:6; Exodus 16:12; Exodus 16:28).* Food sustains our physical lives. One day a week the children of Israel were to stop doing what was necessary to provide for themselves in recognition that God is the one who sustains them.
1Moses assembled all the congregation of the people of Israel and said to them, “These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do. 2Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.” - Exodus 35:1-3
01 Sabbath: Why remember the Sabbath?
Sabbath is about who God is. It’s not about what we need to live healthy lives. It’s not about making sure we get our rest so that we can be productive at work, be nice to our family and stay awake during Bible Studies (though none of those things are bad things). Sabbath reminds us who God is. Because as we’ll see, on the Sabbath, we rest to remember God.
8“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. - Exodus 20:8-11
* The Hebrew word Sabbath (Strong's H7676) is an intensive form of the word for stop, rest or cease. (H7673a).* We remember the Sabbath because God rested after He created the heavens and the earth (Exodus 20:11).* God rested because His work was finished (Genesis 2:1-3).* We rest to remember that God has created us and He will complete that work.* God didn't give this command because resting makes us more productive or better people, but because the day off allows us to remember God created us and God will sustain us.
First reason: We rest to remember that God's work in creating us is finished.
12And the LORD said to Moses, 13“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. 14You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” - Exodus 31:12-17
* The Sabbath served as a sign of the covenant between God and His people.* God requires the Sabbath as a way of reminding His people that He has chosen them. * We rest because God has chosen us. The Sabbath reminds us of our basic identity.* Sabbath is a way to say that "busy-ness" isn't what makes me important.
Second reason: We rest to remember God chose us.
12“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
03 When God calls: but I’m afraid
What if God has called me to something and I'm just plain afraid to follow? What if the path He has put before me seems too frightening or overwhelming?
Elisha is the disciple of and successor to the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Both Elijah & Elisha were prophets to the northern kingdom during the dynasties of Omri & Jehu.
When Omri became king in the north (885-874 BC), he sought political alliances with Tyre to increase his access to the lucrative Mediterranean trade routes. Omri sealed the alliance by arranging the marriage of his son Ahab (874-853 BC) with the Tyrian princess Jezebel. She arrived in Israel intent on replacing the Hebrew God with her god. Much of Elijah’s work took place under the exceedingly evil reign of Ahab and Jezebel.
More: Simple overview of biblical history
More: Northern Kingdom Introduction
More: Southern Kingdom Introduction
More: Prophets Introduction
The Axe Head
1Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. 2Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there." And he answered, "Go." 3Then one of them said, "Be pleased to go with your servants." And he answered, "I will go." 4So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, "Alas, my master! It was borrowed." 6Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. 7And he said, "Take it up." So he reached out his hand and took it. - 2Kings 6:1-7
* Elisha and his disciples went from Samaria to the Jordan River to cut down some trees in order to build a new meeting hall. During the cutting, one of the men dropped a borrowed ax-head in the river. He cried out to Elisha in fear.* Why does a lost axe head call for a miracle?* The key to this passage is knowing the worth of the axe head. Iron implements were tremendously expensive to produce. * The axe head was expensive and the disciple is now in tremendous debt. His most likely means for repayment is to indenture himself as a servant.* Unlike pagan gods, the God of Israel controls creation. It does not control Him. He can draw the axe head from the river.* This miracle anticipates the day when the Lord will redeem creation from the fall and creation will no longer frustrate our labor but will join it.* God is a redeeming God. His willingness to deliver this disciple from slavery reflects His willingness to deliver His people from their slavery to sin.* Like this disciple, you can meet God in the midst of your daily mundane chores. You don't have to be in a church or participating in a religious holiday.
Horses & Chariots of war
8Once when the king of Syria [aka Aram] was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once ...
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