Spring 2014: Seeking After a Sign: Part 4
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Summary: This is the last article of a series of four.
 
This article is part of a series. We recommend that you first read: Seeking After a Sign - Part 1, Spring 2013: Seeking After a Sign - Part 2, Seeking After a Sign - Part 3.
 

I intended to stop. Really. I had seen the stop sign quite a distance ahead and had begun to slow down in plenty of time. Then something caught my attention. My GPS was babbling directions that seemed to not make any sense, and so I was trying to tap the screen to find out the right way to go. By the time I realized what was happening, I was in the middle of the intersection, stop sign behind me, my car still moving. Thankfully there were no other vehicles on this lonely stretch of highway. The lesson for me was this, even when we know and have seen the sign, we can sometimes be distracted to the point of missing it.

Source: gsloan on Flickr

Case in point: We have been discussing signs that are not really the signs that God intended for us to put our faith in. Most assuredly, Jesus did many wonderful miracles, as did His disciples, in an effort to show His power and provide opportunity for those around to be spiritually awakened. But as we have read, He said those who seek after a sign were an evil generation. Having their hearts and minds trained on that which would “wow” the crowd, they were blind to the fact that the Messiah was walking among them. So the people today, as we near the Second Coming of our Lord, are looking for signs, trusting in miracles, depending upon tongues, and seeking after prophets with pleasing messages. I am reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 8, “Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” Even though God does miraculous things for us at times and we see the gifts of the Spirit evident in the church, these are not what make up our faith. These things will pass, but love never fails.

God's Sign

So how do we understand God’s love, which is what never fails, in light of the fact that God has given a sign for His people not to follow, but to show? The sign that God gave to us is the seventh-day Sabbath.

Furthermore, we are not to seek after it, but we are to participate in it as a sign to others. You see, this sign is not some miraculous event, some moment of ecstatic jubilation, or some personal need gratified. No, not at all. This sign is a sign of love, of God’s love. Maybe you have never thought of the Sabbath as a sign of God’s love before. Most see it as a command, a sign of God’s authority and sovereignty, which it is. But it is even more than that. Let me take you on a short Bible study so you, too, can see the sign.

One-way sign
The first mention of the seventh-day Sabbath we find in Scripture is in Exodus 16. God rested on the very first seventh day at the end of the Creation week, establishing the Sabbath at that time. But the first time we see the word translated as “Sabbath” occurs in Exodus 16. Here we have the account of God providing manna every day for six days, but providing none on the seventh day, which at first seems less-than loving until we understand what God is teaching His people, and us. The Scripture says, “See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” Ex. 16:29-30.

God was reinstituting His holy Sabbath day to a people who had forgotten it through 400 years of slavery in Egypt. In doing so, He was also demonstrating that He was the provider, not only of their daily needs but also of their spiritual needs as well. Jesus said He was this bread from heaven (John 6:51), and just as the manna did not spoil on the Sabbath, so Christ’s body saw no corruption as He rested in the grave over the Sabbath.

Look at Deuteronomy chapter 5, where we see the Ten Commandments given again. “Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day." (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Here we have a second motivation for our keeping the Sabbath holy. God is not only our Creator, but He is our Deliverer/Redeemer, as well. Oh, the love of God for us! While we were yet sinners Christ died for us! Even when we have walked away from His love and grace to live our lives as we want - selfish, sinful and debased - He still loves us. He still offers salvation to us and His Sabbath is a sign of that love.

What the Sign Signifies

Some will contend that they worship God on Sunday because that is the day that Jesus arose from the dead and it is a memorial of the salvation we have through Him. I would respectfully, and yet very confidently, disagree. The Bible is too clear: The memorial of Creation and redemption is the seventh-day Sabbath. Not only this, but as God has described it, it is a “sign” between Him and us: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you” (Exodus 31:13).

That we know it is the Lord who sanctifies us. Do we hear that part? It speaks of the very thing God will do for His people at the end of time in order to deliver them.

Revelation 7: 3 says, “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Remember that the words “seal,” “mark” and “sign” are all interchangeable in Scripture. Even as the wicked receive the mark of the beast, so too will the children of God receive the seal, or mark, of God. And the Sabbath is the sign (mark, seal). God loves you. He loves His church. He has given a sign for us to follow, not to seek after. The next time you prepare for Sabbath - or maybe for the first time, for some - remember that the Sabbath shows without a doubt the love of God for you! And then ask yourself, How will I show my love for Him in return?

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