This Week's Focus Passage

Exodus 16:25 - ‘To-day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah: to-day ye shall not find it in the field.’

Exodus 16:25

‘To-day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah: to-day ye shall not find it in the field.’

              A very prevalent teaching in the midst of the Christian church finds the institution of the Sabbath, not in or before Exodus 16, but, in Exodus 20 with the giving of the law, or the Ten Commandments. Taking these commands, then, as the ‘law of Moses,’ they insist that they are no longer obligatory for the believer today. These laws, they say, have been done away in Christ and, unless they are repeated in the New Testament, they are not binding upon the Christian. There are many varieties and degrees of the sort of teaching that postulates such things, but whether in entirety, or in part, they largely agree that the pronouncement of Moses regarding the keeping of the Sabbath was for Israel and not for Christians in our day. It may be that it would bode well for many of the adherents of this school of thought were they to consider the reality demonstrated in our focus passage this week. It is adequately revealed to the reader of Scripture that this event recorded four chapters before the giving of the Ten Commandments to the great prophet, Moses, occurred before that momentous history on Mount Sinai. This history coincides with the giving, not of the law but, of the Manna. This may be the reason that the fourth command begins with the positive assertion, ‘Remember,’ rather than the negative, ‘thou shalt not,’ common to each of the others excepting ‘honor thy father and thy mother.’ Further, it is interesting, at least, to note that in the recapitulation of the law found in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, these same two positively stated commands are combined with the ground for them being given, ‘as Jehovah thy God commanded thee,’ suggesting that the two were perhaps conspicuous in having been previously made known. Conspicuous, because we hold that the law in its entirety was given in some form from the very beginning; ‘sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses.’ Romans 5:13-14.

              At the beginning of our focus chapter, we are told that the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses. This people that had so recently seen God’s power wonderfully revealed at the Red Sea cried that they would be better off back in Egypt where, they said, there was food plentifully to be had, while here in this desert, they were starving. God’s response was, ‘in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God.’ God’s promise was as good as His word. The very next morning, ‘a small round thing,’ was on the ground. When they saw it, they said one to another, ‘what is it?’ It was manna! Moses directed them to gather only that which was needed for a day and when some untrustingly gathered a greater amount, it bred worms and became foul. They were being taught to depend upon God for each day. Accordingly, they were instructed to gather on the sixth day enough for two days for they were not to gather on the Sabbath. ‘Jehovah hath spoken, Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a holy Sabbath unto Jehovah,’ Moses declared. The people were now obliged to trust God that this gathering for the next day would be preserved by God. Thus was the Sabbath established; six days thou shalt labor, but thou shall rest on the seventh.

              If any failed to gather sufficient upon the sixth day expecting to go out as usual on the seventh to gather manna, their hopes were sorely disappointed. The text that we are looking at is emphatic, ‘to-day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah: to-day ye shall not find it in the field.’ Can we neglect the Lord’s Day and hope, in spite of that, to find our needs met ‘in the field’? Do we think that we may gather enough of the Word during the week that we can easily dispense with the appointed meetings of the saints where we may hear God speak to His assembled people as they come together? Will we go out on the seventh day, ‘in the field,’ to seek the things for which God has given us six days? Shall we be surprised when these things then breed worms and become foul? The text indeed suggests that we will not find our pleasure ‘in the field.’ Through the mouth of the prophet, Isaiah, we find that the believer’s pleasure is to be found in calling the Sabbath a delight, Isaiah 58:13. ‘Then,’ God said, ‘shalt thou delight thyself in Jehovah; and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth; and I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.’ This is, of course, in stark contrast with going out ‘in the field’ to find our own pleasure. If we are in Christ we will not be satisfied for long with our own pleasure, but we will discover that He Himself is our pleasure. In comparison with Him, everything else is wormy and foul, even that which is lawful on six days.

              This manna, whatever it was, must have been some sort of bread, for God said, ‘in the morning ye shall be filled with bread.’ For the people of God on that occasion, this was their bread of life. And who is our Bread of Life? Is it not the Lord of glory? He Himself declared, ‘I am the bread of life.’ He is our necessary food, is He not? Can we go one day, especially the Lord’s Day, without feeding on Him? We have all known individuals who assert that they can worship God ‘in the field,’ or out on the lake as they, with their fishing pole, reflect [so they say] upon the glory of God. What god may we imagine they are worshipping; whose glory is it that they are reflecting upon? Is it not very likely they are worshipping themselves; reflecting upon their own supposed goodness? They are thus feeding on their own flesh and not on the only Bread of Life. Jesus has said, ‘He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’ Those who seek to bring glory to themselves, rather than to God in Jesus Christ, will sadly find at the last day that there is no sustenance of eternal value to be found in anything they may foolishly imagine to be within themselves. As with manna disobediently gathered, these things will be like Herod, ‘And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms.’ Acts 12:23.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church     


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