The Fourth Commandment
Now that, in our quest to
eliminate God, we have succeeded in eliminating the Lord's Day, are we better off?
8 "Remember the sabbath day,
to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour, and
do all your work; 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to
the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, your son,
or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner
who is within your gates; 11 for in six days the LORD your God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and
rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day
and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11
Many varying interpretations of this command caused discussions throughout
history. They range from interpretations by ultra-orthodox Jews in today's Israel
who don't even want to turn on an electric light or have an elevator running on the
sabbath, to others who consider the Sabbath to be without merit what-so-ever. Yet,
the commandment is here, with us, and there is no use denying that, unless we just pretend
to live by the Bible, we must obey the Fourth Commandment.
In the pre-industrial age, before shift work became an issue, work was not done on the
Sabbath or Sundays. But even then it was a problem to deal with issues that the
sector of society covered by what is today called the service industry had to deal
with. However, all along in the predominantly Christian western society it has been
customary to prefer not to do any work on Sundays. When I grew up Sundays were days
of rest for the majority of people.
When I came to Canada in 1962, a law called The Lord's Day Act was in force. I
don't know to what extent that law still legally applies, but for all intents and
practical purposes it isn't applied any longer. In the sixties on Sundays, stores
were closed, trucks didn't run on the highways, and laundry wasn't hung out to dry.
Today, with people having so much more leisure time, they either want to find extra work
to fill their empty days or want to enjoy their leisure time in ways that require other
people to work on Sundays.
Ostensibly, all of those changes were for some "good" reasons, but, have they
really been changes for the better? Nobody needs to use his imagination to determine
whether the collective impact of all of these changes has generally bettered the quality
of our lives. We have become a hectic society that has little time left in which to
rest. We are driven by an irresistible urge to consume relentlessly. The
economy of our society now demands that Sundays not be days of rest any longer. We
can't afford to rest even one single day of the week. If we do our economy will
It seems to me that the punishment for violating the Fourth Commandment has come a long
time before the final judgment. It's not too late to do anything about it. All that
is needed, as with all other social issues addressed by the Ten Commandment, is to take a
little time out and to contemplate what kind of a society we want to live in and what kind
of a society it is that we want our children to have.
As Vance Packard indicated in the dedication (to his parents) in his book "The
Waste Makers", we should not confuse the possession of things with the good things in
life. If we ever find enough time to rest on Sundays, it would only be proper to
thank the Lord for what He has given us.
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The Fifth Commandment
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