Wednesday, July 22, 2015
If They Would Just Keep One
“Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.” (Jeremiah 17:19-23)
God instructed Jeremiah to go to each of the gates into the city of Jerusalem and confront the people. He was to remind them that God had forbidden them to do any work on the Sabbath. They were to set it aside wholly for the Lord. For many years they had treated that command as just a suggestion, perhaps making a slave carry the burden rather than doing it themselves or limiting the distance which things could be carried on the Sabbath.
“And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:24-26)
He promised that if they would stop working on the Sabbath, putting God first and obeying him, the kingdom would be established forever. Judah would be ruled by their own government, and Jerusalem would be a trade and religious center with people flocking there from all of Israel and the neighboring countries to worship God. This entire promise was contingent on them keeping just one of God’s commands. Surely they could keep this one command.
“But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 17:27)
If they refused to keep that one commandment, continuing to ignore the Sabbath day, even in Jerusalem itself, then God would start a fire that would completely destroy the city. It would destroy their king and his family and continue to burn until all was destroyed.