What Should I Do Today?
Carlton Foster – July 18, 2020
Have you ever wake up one day and ask yourself this question, “What should I do today?” Throughout the week we have been very busy, and today – the end of the week, it seems so natural that I must find something to do. I remembered what the Lord said in Exodus 20:8-10, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Today is the Sabbath and I am thinking of what I should do! Most people would say, “Go to church and worship God!” God said we must keep the day holy by not doing my work or anyone under my control should do any work for me, but what about working for others? Jesus saw a sick man on the Sabbath, and he said to him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” (John 5:6-17).
The man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him. So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17). If the 4th Commandment said “six days to do all my work” did it mention anything about not doing God’s work? So doing godly work on the Sabbath is OK! Jesus also said it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath days (Mark 3:4). The work that we do on Sabbath is distinguished by who benefits from the outcome of the effort. If I somehow benefit from it, it is unlawful, but if others benefit, it is lawful. Jesus reminded us of this in Matthew 5: 46-47, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?” Therefore, the benefit of working on the Sabbath should go towards others and not to you.
The Lord emphasized this in Isaiah 58:13 “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” The work that I do on Sabbath must not be any work that benefits me. We should not pursue our personal interests on that day; we should not follow your own desires or talk idly.
So what about going to church, since every Sabbath keepers go to church on the Sabbath? The Lord said to Moses in Exodus 25:8, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” I saw that the main purpose of the sanctuary or church was for the priest to use it to intercedes and seek mercy for the sins of the people. It was only for the leaders. We saw that in Numbers 3:38 when God said, “The area in front of the Tabernacle, in the east toward the sunrise, was reserved for the tents of Moses and of Aaron and his sons, who had the final responsibility for the sanctuary on behalf of the people of Israel. Anyone other than a priest or Levite who went too near the sanctuary was to be put to death”.
The Lord again stated the same thing to Moses in Numbers 18:2-7, “Bring your relatives of the tribe of Levi—your ancestral tribe—to assist you and your sons as you perform the sacred duties in front of the Tabernacle of the Covenant. But as the Levites go about all their assigned duties at the Tabernacle, they must be careful not to go near any of the sacred objects or the altar. If they do, both you and they will die. The Levites must join you in fulfilling their responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the Tabernacle, but no unauthorized person may assist you. You yourselves must perform the sacred duties inside the sanctuary and at the altar. If you follow these instructions, the Lord’s anger will never again blaze against the people of Israel. I myself have chosen your fellow Levites from among the Israelites to be your special assistants. They are a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord for service in the Tabernacle. But you and your sons, the priests, must personally handle all the priestly rituals associated with the altar and with everything behind the inner curtain. I am giving you the priesthood as your special privilege of service. Any unauthorized person who comes too near the sanctuary will be put to death.”
The Bible shows that the children were not to assemble inside of the tabernacle, they should only assemble in front of the church whenever Moses called them. In Numbers 3:7, God said to Moses about breaking camp and moving the people, “But when you call the people to an assembly, blow the trumpets with a different signal. Only the priests, Aaron’s descendants, are allowed to blow the trumpets. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation.” So from time to time, the leaders assemble the people in front of the tabernacle or church, but it was never inside the tabernacle. Whenever they have a holy convocation, it was within the camp and their dwellings. “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live. In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.” (Leviticus 23:2-4).
We interpreted “holy assemble” and “complete rest” as no work and just reading the Bible, listening to a sermon, praying, and singing hymns – worshiping God, but also any assemble to do God’s work (in the neighborhood) are holy assemblies. The commandment is stipulating “work” that would normally benefit me. It did not say we should stop doing godly work on the Sabbath. Some may say, “What about doing God’s work on the other six days?”. Since God gave those days for personal work, we would instead try to divide the time between our work and God’s work and thus not giving full attention to God’s holy “work”. Jesus emphasized that it is lawful to “do good” on the Sabbath. He said that we are to go out and help the poor – that is a form of worshiping God. He said, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. I tell you the truth when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40).
What should I do today – the Sabbath of the Lord? My family and I should get ready to do the plans that were already made by the leaders of the church to do “good” works in the community. We should do so after assembling at the church for a short prayer and worship, then the whole assembly must go immediately to the poor, the oppressed, and the needy, and minister to them by helping them and sharing God’s promises of the Kingdom of God to them. That is what we should do today – God’s holy day which he set apart and blessed for good works.