Does the Sabbath Day still apply today? What is God’s purpose for this day of rest? And why is it important to our marriage?

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” – Exodus 20:8

Do you think of the Ten Commandments as part of the Old Testament law that doesn’t really apply anymore? Can they truly have a significant impact on our lives…on our marriages? The truth is they can–and must. This Couple’s Bible Study covers what the Ten Commandments mean to us today and how they can guide our lives and marriages to bring great blessing. 

In Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, we’ve looked at the first three commandments. They give us specific instructions on how to keep God first in our lives.

This week we will discuss the fourth commandment. It is the last of the commandments that speak about our relationship with God. It also provides an action we must take in order for God to be first in our marriages.

We find this commandment in Exodus 20:8-11:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

The word “sabbath” is from the Hebrew word “shabbat.” It means to stop or rest from work. This is clarified by the explanation God gives for the Sabbath in verses 10-11.

We are told in verse 10 that this day is “to the Lord your God.” It is a way to honor Him.

On the Sabbath day, we are to set everything aside and focus on God. It reminds us of the preeminent place He is to have in our lives and marriages. And it leads us to focus on the first and most important command from God“I am the Lord your God,” and you “shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:1-2).

A further explanation for setting a day apart is given in verse 11—“in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” Again it tells us to focus on God, Who He is, and all that He has done for us. He is the all-powerful God who created everything that exists.

In Psalm 33:6-9, we read of praise to God for His power seen in His creation: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

The Israelites were given this command as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, after their long journey in the desert escaping from Egypt. So as they entered their new homeland, this special day was a way to help them not forget the One who gave them freedom from the slavery of the past. It would also help them to recall the promises of the One Who would lead them and provide for them in the future.

For us, since the cross of Christ, the Sabbath day does not have to be on the seventh day of the week. But the commandment is clear in that we are to set apart a time every seven days to worship God.

Most of us now set aside the first day of the week as this day, for that is the day of the week our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and set us free from our slavery to sin.

Paul writes about this in Romans 6:17-18: “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

Romans 6:22-23 says: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s Word also tells us that for our own good we need one another in the Church so that we can help each other grow in our relationship with Him. This is why God commands us in Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Our worship together and the fellowship and support of other believers will help us have the marriages God wants for us.         

As we seek to have a marriage full of love and joy, we must also desire to have a marriage that pleases and serves God. Following God’s fourth commandment to set apart this one day each week to honor and worship Him is critical in keeping Him first in our lives and marriages. And as we meet together with our fellow believers in God’s Church, we will help each other to achieve all that God has for us.

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♦   Read this week’s teaching together. Discuss how God spoke to you through it.

♦   What does the Sabbath mean for you and your marriage. Here are some questions related to the Sabbath to ask yourselves about how it effects your marriage:

◊  Do you attend church together, worship God together, and learn from the teaching of His Word together each week? Do you discuss what God has taught you with each other?

◊  Do you have a special time together every week just between the two of you when you study God’s Word together, pray together, and worship Him together? If you need help with this, we have a free workbook to assist you–Couple Connect: A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.

◊  Do you seek to have times together and individually when you can rest, focus on God, and/or just get away from the normal business of life? What ways can you help each other do this?

◊  Pray together asking God to help you make Him the priority in your lives and marriage. Ask Him to help you be faithful to worship Him together each week with your fellow believers at church, and with each other. Make a commitment to do this and hold each other accountable.

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Next week, we will continue to study the Ten Commandments and how they impact our marriages by studying the fifth commandment.

Until then, may God bless you and your marriages in all His wonderful ways,

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Making God First
Part 3: Worship and Honor
Part 5: Honoring Your Parents
Part 6: Don’t Kill Each Other
Part 7: On Adultery and Stealing
Part 8: Being Honest
Part 9: Being Content
Part 10: Love and Devotion
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Header photo by Sabra Penley.
Church photo by Aaron Burden via (CC0), cropped/text added.

About David Penley

A devoted husband and father, former pastor and seminary professor, who longs to grow closer to the likeness of Christ each day and share God's love and truth with everyone.