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Do You Remember?
"Remember the days of old, Consider the years of all generations. Ask
your father, and he will inform you, Your elders, and they will tell you."
The older I get, the more I have to remember, but I've noticed that
my capacity to remember decreases as the volume of things to remember increases.
Personally, I am memory challenged. I don't know if I ever had a good memory-frankly,
I don't remember, but I certainly know that I don't have one now. If I
don't jot events down in my Palm Pilot and set an alarm to go off to remind
me the of the event, then I know that I'll forget the things I'm supposed
to do. I've met other people like me, and then I've met another class of
people that are memory challenged in a different way-they have selective
memories. They remember what they want to remember-usually the things that
make them and their friends look good or feel good and their enemies look
bad or feel bad.
Four times in the book of Deuteronomy Moses tells the people to remember
that they used to be slaves (Deut. 5:15; 16:12; 24:18; 24:22). Why? Because,
like many of us, they had selective memories and Moses knew it would be
easy to forget where they came from. I'm sure that many of these people
would just as soon forget their shameful past. It was much easier to turn
their heads and ignore who they were, but when they do, they will never
know who they are. Or who their God is. Deut. 5:15 says, "And you shall
remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your
God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm;
therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day."
After remembering they were slaves, then they could remember the power
of God's mighty hand and His outstretched arm and know why they pause to
observe a holy day.
Look at the power of remembering. It calls us to humility. It woes us
to worship and empowers our praise and it gives our obedience significance.
Today, we are not gathering to remember that the Jewish people were
once slaves in Egypt. But we are gathering to remember, nonetheless. We
remember that when the call to arms went out, brave Americans answered
that call and gave their lives. We remember the boys and girls that grew
up without a Daddy and the women who raised children on their own because
their men answered the call. We remember the Missing in Action and Prisoners
of War, whose families still live in uncertainty, wondering what happened
to their loved one. Though it would be easier to turn our minds elsewhere
and look away, we force ourselves to remember those who are maimed and
crippled, physically, emotionally and psychologically by the horrors of
Today we remember. Why? Because it is humbling to remember. We like
to live in the illusion of safety and security, but the truth is there
will always be wars and rumors of wars. We are humble people, totally dependant
upon our God for our security. We have no security outside of His providence
and grace. So today we remember that we are vulnerable.
We also remember, because God has blessed this nation and we give him
praise and honor for what He has done. If we turn to God in prayer during
crisis, isn't it only right that we return to Him in praise when He answers
those prayers. In every war, righteous men and women have turned to their
God in prayer, asking Him to protect, preserve and prevail. Just a few
months ago, we did it again, and so now we pause to remember-and to praise.
We also remember to give our Sabbath rest significance. Memorial Day
doesn't have to be just a day of Bar-B-Que and recreation-it can be a Sabbath
rest. One that replenishes our bodies and our souls. Tonight we'll talk
about what it means to have a Sabbath rest. This morning we've honored
those who've served our country in the past and are presently doing so.
They are deserving of our honor. But we've done more than that. We've remembered.
We've remembered the people who've made sacrifices for our freedom and
are making sacrifices. We've praised God for His mercy upon us and we look
forward to enjoying a rich Sabbath rest tomorrow.
The word SABBATH literally means "to rest from labor" it is the day
of rest. "The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently recovered
inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the royal palace, was based
on the division of time into weeks of seven days. The Sabbath is in these
inscriptions designated Sabattu, and defined as 'a day of rest for the
heart' and 'a day of completion of labour.'" The word is first mentioned
in Genesis 2:2 "And by the seventh day God completed His work which He
had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had
The Sabbath is a "day of rest and refreshment for the body and of blessing
to the soul."
It is mentioned next in connection with the gift of manna to the children
of Israel in the wilderness Exodus 16:23 NASB "then he said to them, 'This
is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a Sabbath observance, a holy sabbath
to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all
that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.'"
Just as God provided Manna for the nourishment of the children of Israel,
he provided the Sabbath as a day of refreshment for their souls and replenishment
of their bodies.
The Sabbath was is so important that it made God's top ten list, In
Exodus 20:11, in the 10 commandments, the people were told to "remember
the sabbath day, to keep it holy."
In the Mosaic law strict regulations were laid down regarding its observance
"For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have
a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the Lord; whoever does any work
on it shall be put to death.  You shall not kindle a fire in any of
your dwellings on the sabbath day."
'For six days work may be done; but on the seventh day there is a sabbath
of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is
a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.
'Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation,
while you are in your enemies' land; then the land will rest and enjoy
In the subsequent history of the Jews frequent references are made to
the sanctity of the Sabbath Isaiah 56:2
"How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes
hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from
doing any evil."
For thus says the Lord, "To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose
what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant,
"Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to
Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, every one who
keeps from profaning the sabbath, And holds fast My covenant;  Even
those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house
of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable
on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the
"In later times they perverted the Sabbath by their traditions. Our
Lord rescued it from their perversions, and recalled to them its true nature
And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they questioned
Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"-- in order that they
might accuse Him.  And He said to them, "What man shall there be among
you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath,
will he not take hold of it, and lift it out?  "Of how much more value
then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
 Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" And he stretched
it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.
And He was saying to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man
for the Sabbath.
And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.  And
behold, there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused
by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all.
 And when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman,
you are freed from your sickness."  And He laid His hands upon her;
and immediately she was made erect again, and began glorifying God. 
And the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath,
began saying to the multitude in response, "There are six days in which
work should be done; therefore come during them and get healed, and not
on the Sabbath day."  But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites,
does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the
stall, and lead him away to water him?  "And this woman, a daughter
of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should
she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?"  And
as He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire
multitude was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.
"The Sabbath, originally instituted for man at his creation, is of permanent
and universal obligation. The physical necessities of man require a Sabbath
of rest. He is so constituted that his bodily welfare needs at least one
day in seven for rest from ordinary labor. Experience also proves that
the moral and spiritual necessities of men also demand a Sabbath of rest."
F. W. Robertson said, 'I am more and more sure by experience that the reason
for the observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting necessities
of human nature, and that as long as man is man the blessedness of keeping
it, not as a day of rest only, but as a day of spiritual rest, will never
be annulled. I certainly do feel by experience the eternal obligation,
because of the eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without
it. It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made for
man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state because they needed
it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in human nature. He who can dispense
with it must be holy and spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and
unspiritual, would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser
than his Maker."
(developed using Easton's Bible Dictionary)