SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Tuesday August 6, 1996

The Exodus and the Sabbath (Deut. 5:12-15).

Why did the Lord introduce the Ten Commandments as He did? Exod. 20:1, 2; Deut. 5:6.

The one event that overshadows all the history of Israel is the glorious Exodus deliverance. It was as the God of the Exodus, the One who miraculously delivered Israel from slavery and certain death at the hands of the pursuing Egyptian army, that Christ invited His people to rest in Him. Trapped at the Red Sea, they were helplessly unable to escape--for the sea before them seemed uncrossable, the mountain to the side unscalable, and the army behind them unbeatable. All Israel could do was to rest in Christ and see His wonderful salvation. He opened up a way on dry ground for them to cross over, and He destroyed their enemies, as well. Christ had demonstrated that resting in Him brings great blessing. The Exodus, therefore, became a parable for the Sabbath. It illustrates that the Sabbath was made for people (Mark 2:27) -- for our benefit.

What additional information on the fourth commandment is recorded in Deuteronomy 5:15?

Exodus 20 speaks of keeping the Sabbath in remembrance of Creation. Deuteronomy 5 speaks of keeping the Sabbath in remembrance of the Exodus. Is this a contradiction? Or is a deeper perspective involved? Deuteronomy 5:15 presents a broader meaning of the Sabbath. The Sabbath celebrate Christ's completed deliverance at the Red Sea. as well as His completed Creation in Eden. Both completed works of Christ reveal the distinction between the Creator and His creatures. In both, Christ was the active agent, and people were the recipients. In both, Christ gave, and people received the gift. This opens up the very heart of the Sabbath, which is the very essence of the gospel that humanity is called to rest in Christ's gift.

It is true that the Sabbath was given to Israel to celebrate the Exodus (Deut. 5:15). But it is also true that the Sabbath preceded Sinai (Exod. 16:22-30), that it is a Creation ordinance (Gen. 2:1, 2), and, as such, was "made for man" (Mark 2:27).

When a non-Christian friend asks you to explain the relevance the Sabbath has in your life, how do you reply? At what point would you begin in giving a Bible study on the Sabbath? How would you avoid giving the impression that you are a legalist?