Is God still the creator, even when He's resting? Am I me, regardless of what I'm producing; or is my entire life and worth defined by the number of bricks I can make?
Anything we do around Sabbath that puts people in bondage, instead of bringing relief to a situation, misses the point. The last thing a group of slaves needs is another piece of bondage - and we're no different.
When our worth becomes about bricks, we become machines. Sabbath is a day where you live like your work is done, even if it isn't - and that is healing. The world goes on, because God is God, and you are not
Exodus 20:8. Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy.
If you're here right now, and you're going: oh goody, goody, goody, he's going to tackle something controversial - no. Let me tell you what I'm not going to do tonight: I'm not going to try to solve theological problems around Sabbath. I'm not going to talk about what day it is. I'm not going to talk about: what time you celebrate it; what you're allowed to do; what you're not allowed to do.
All of it misses the point. What I am going to do, is try to bring out the heart of Sabbath - by relating to the first people who would have heard this command - people who'd been slaves for 430 years. All they knew was slavery, days defined strictly by how they made bricks; and finally God says: here's what we're going to do. We're going to create a culture that is so awesome, that the whole world's going to want in on it; and here are the first 10 rules of that culture: You should take a day off.
If you've been a slave for 430 years, and God lays down the law; and one of the laws is: “take a day off” - you are relieved! You are not put in bondage - so anything we do around Sabbath that puts people in bondage (instead of bringing relief to a situation), misses the point. Any box you put around Sabbath, that does not bring relief, it brings bondage.
The last thing a group of slaves needs is: another piece of bondage. And you know what? You're no different than them - something has had your life. I want to put a spin on the Sabbath, one that might set us free, if we catch the spirit of it.
Exodus 5:15 (same group of people) – “and the overseers of the sons of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh saying: why do you deal with your servants so harshly? There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us: make bricks; and behold your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people. But he said: you are lazy! You are lazy! Therefore I say: let us go, let us sacrifice to Jehovah. Therefore go now and work; for there shall be no straw given you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks”.
Please do not read this just for the content. Read this for emotion, and try to identify with these people, and maybe ask yourself: who am I in this story?
“And the overseers of the sons of Israel saw themselves in affliction after it was said: you shall not take away from the bricks of your daily tasks.”
This is a culture that's all about: what you are doing, for the person who owns you? When you can't produce for the person who owns you, they kill you. Life in Egypt was all about one thing: achievement, and production of bricks. From birth to death, for 430 years, it was all about: what you could do for somebody else.
It was all about what you could work, and achieve, for somebody else. Somebody else was defining your worth, based on one thing: how many bricks could you make. Are we any different today? I would say: the answer is no.
For your wives, a lot of times - your worth is defined by: how well you keep your house; how well you keep your children; how well you keep up with all the people's schedules; how well you do all the things that a woman has to do. And now we're journeying into a place where, not only does a woman have to do all those things; but because of taxation and what-not, women also have to be breadwinners as well - because you can't eat without both people working. What happens is: your worth, as a wife, becomes defined by: how many bricks you can make?