September 25, 2018: Be Bold in Taking Sabbath (Exodus 20: 1-11)

September 25, 2018

Rev. Sarah TevisTownes

Bible Study Session Topic

This week’s text comes from Exodus 20:1-11. It’s an excerpt from the 10 commandments, and it begins with admonitions against worshiping idols. Our focus will be on the meaning of Sabbath, but the piece about worshipping God and not idols is an important way to set up that conversation. It’s no accident that these commandments were written that way! Some of us are notoriously bad about taking breaks. Many of us have been taught, in fact, that caring for ourselves is selfish. Even in retirement, many of us find ourselves with busy social calendars, projects, and volunteer work. It’s true, the world, the church, our friends and families—they all need us! At the same time, we cannot be much help if we’re burnt out… Nor can we be centered in the work we are doing. Work can easily become an idol in itself, and we can forget why we’re doing the work we’re doing. But how can we re-center ourselves in a world and culture full of noise and demands? And what about Jesus? He worked on the Sabbath… Isn’t that what we’re called to do? Can work be a form of Sabbath? We’ll dive into these questions and more next week after I return from my own Sabbath time away – I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Bible Study Session Scripture

Exodus 20: 1-11

The Message Translation


20 1-2 God spoke all these words:

I am God, your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of a life of slavery.

No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God. The iniquities of parents will be passed on to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I am also unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of God’s name.

8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your child, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; God rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as sacred.