Here at Heralds of Hope, we do lots of our work on computers. This means we have different programs to track our information. Some programs are just for email, others are used to track our donations and expenses, and some programs are used to record and produce this radio program. There are quite a few different systems to understand and maintain.
Earlier this year, we started bringing our various systems together into one system. One of our employees is designing the program to meet our specific needs here at Heralds of Hope. I have found that learning from him is much better than trying to figure it out by myself using trial and error. Since I know who made the program, I can go directly to him, and he explains exactly how it works and why it is working that way.
After he answers my questions, I would be foolish to think he doesn’t know what he is talking about and try to fix it my way. Absolutely not; he made the program and knows exactly how it works. So, I had better listen to him.
Humans also have a programmer. We were made by God. If you want to know how we work best and what is good for us, ask Him. He knows; He made us. We may not understand it or know why He created us the way He did, but He is the Creator, and He knows best.
We apply this truth to many areas. For example, God created male and female, we don’t know exactly why He made two and not 4 or 5, but He is the designer, and He knows best. After He created male and female, He taught us about marriage, which is between one male and one female. Again, He does not tell us all the reasons; He just tells us the story and gives us directions. At the end of the creation week, God rested, and He teaches us to do the same.
Today let’s take a closer look at the idea of rest, the Sabbath; the principle is to rest one day out of seven. If our Creator tells us this is a good idea, we had better pay attention. After all, He knows us best. Please turn to Exodus 16 and give your attention to J. Mark Horst for more teaching on the Sabbath.
One of the principles God has written into His universe is the Holy Sabbath. Dr. Yoder had a friend in Jerusalem who often spoke about Jewish worship. Many times, in his addresses, he said, “The Sabbath kept the Jews more than the Jews kept the Sabbath.” That is a telling remark. The holy sabbath, as God ordained it from creation, kept the Jews all during their history.
When God finished creating all things, He set aside a day of rest. We read about this in Genesis 2:1-3. From the beginning of creation, God saw the value of rest: one day in seven. It has been His intention that all people regard this principle.
In Exodus 16:22-35 we have the account of how God taught His people, the Children of Israel, to keep the Sabbath.
22. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23. And he said unto them, this is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25. And Moses said, eat that today; for today is a sabbath unto the LORD: today ye shall not find it in the field.
26. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
27. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
28. And the LORD said unto Moses, how long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
29. See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
30. So the people rested on the seventh day.
31. And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
32. And Moses said, this is the thing which the LORD commandeth. Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.
33. And Moses said unto Aaron, take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.
34. As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
35. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
What is the purpose of God in establishing the Sabbath? The ANSWERS to that question are found in this Scripture.
The First ANSWER is
The Sabbath Provided a Rest
There were six days in which their normal activities were carried out. But on that seventh day, they were to have a rest unto the LORD. Look what it tells us in verse 23, “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD.” This day seven was to be different from all other days. All other days were much alike: the manna came in the morning; they went out and gathered it and prepared it for the day’s need.
But the seventh day was to be different. God showed that difference by withholding their manna so there was none to gather. So, God Himself respected the Sabbath day by not providing any manna on that day.
It was a day different from all other days. Religious Jews who observe the Sabbath even now look back to the Sabbath during the first three days of the week. During the last three days of the week, they look forward to the Sabbath because, to them, the Sabbath is that holy day in which there should be rest. A day which is different from all other days.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that the other six days should not be observed as being unto the LORD, but this is a special day providing a time for rest.
It would seem that we ought to see this principle in the holy Sabbath–a day of rest. It is the LORD’s Sabbath, and we should, therefore, observe it with care. We should pay attention to the principle well demonstrated in this experience of Israel. God Himself respected the Sabbath with the people of Israel long ago because He provided no manna on that day. He made it possible for them to provide for their needs by gathering twice as much on the day prior to the Sabbath, which on other days, they could not do. It was, therefore, a day of rest.
The Next ANSWER is
The Sabbath Provided a Reminder
By the very fact that there was no manna on that particular day reminded the people of Israel that God meant what He said. Some went out to gather manna on that day, apparently not believing God, and they found none. So, God had to rebuke them through Moses. He asked them a very pointed question in these words: “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” Their actions showed they didn’t believe that God meant what He had said.
Then the LORD said, “See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore, he gives on the sixth day the bread of two days.” They were reminded that God is not to be trifled with. When God has spoken, He means what He says. That brings a real hope to us because the Bible tells us God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His Word, the Holy Scripture, never changes, and we are very thankful God has this principle so clearly defined.
But sometimes, we also tempt God like some of those did on that day. We ignore and neglect the commandments of God. We presume upon God. “Can God mean what He says?” we ask ourselves. Of course! When God has spoken with such clarity, it ought to tell us that the Sabbath was to be kept holy. Israel was charged with the keeping of the Sabbath as a holy day. It was to be a reminder to them that the God Who set aside this holy day is Himself holy.
Now let us see this principle in the holy Sabbath. It was a day set apart unto the LORD, and therefore it had to be a special day. It was not an ordinary day like all other days. It provided the people of Israel a reminder of the divine holiness of God, for He had sanctified this day unto Himself. He honored it Himself by withholding manna on that day.
Let’s see this principle in the holy Sabbath that it was and is a day set apart unto the LORD–the holy Sabbath for the holy LORD.
The Final ANSWER is
The Sabbath Provided A Remembrance
The third answer to the question of the reason for the Sabbath is inseparably related to the first and second: to provide a rest and a reminder.
I was impressed as I read this passage and noted that Moses told Aaron to fill an omer full of manna and lay it up before the LORD. It was to be kept as a remembrance, as a memorial. Ordinarily, they couldn’t keep manna beyond one day except in preparation for the Sabbath. But this was special; this would last indefinitely.
God reminded them of His mercy and His provision by preserving this one pot of manna. It was to help them remember how God fed them. The LORD said by Moses, “…that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.” This omer of manna was proof that God had taken care of them in a remarkable way.
His mercy did not fail. His mercy was there, so when they needed manna on six days, they could go out and gather it, enough on day six for the seventh. The omer of manna placed in the ark of the testimony told them that God’s mercy never fails.
The Sabbath also helped them to remember the care and mercy of God. We, too, need things to refresh our memory, something to remind us of the mercy and care of God. The Sabbath provided such a remembrance for Israel. It can be that for us.
Let us see this principle in the holy Sabbath then as a remembrance of God’s love for His people. A remembrance for you because God has so ordained that we, too, should remember His mercy and care. Keeping the Sabbath brings this principle to us in a remarkable way.
There are three answers. The Sabbath provided a rest for God’s people. We need a rest – one day in a week. The Sabbath provided a reminder for the people of Israel that the holy God meant what He said. The Sabbath provided a remembrance of God’s mercy and care, along with the omer of manna stored in the ark.
So, whether you are Jewish or whether you are Gentile, let this principle come through that the holy Sabbath is to remind us of the mercy and care of the holy God. Do you trust in the God Who provided such a lasting care?
Thanks, J. Mark, for teaching us, and thank you for joining us. We trust our time together has been a blessing. If you would like this teaching or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
Here are a few ways you can contact us. The best way is via email. Our email is [email protected]. If you don’t have email, you could send us a letter. Our address is Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Or you can connect with us on our website. Our website is heraldsofhope.org. On our website, you will find more teaching like this and other helpful resources; please look around while you are there. Again, our website is heraldsofhope.org.
Thank you so much for being with us. We look forward to next week and hope you will join us then as we continue our study in Exodus. I will part with an encouraging thought from Joel chapter 2, “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other.” Blessings as you serve our great King!
*This episode is an exposition of Exodus 16:22-35 by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with an opening and closing by Arlin Horst.