The Beauty of the Sabbath Day (Week 18, Part 3/6) Exodus 24; 31–34 | Apr 25 – May 1 – powered by Happy Scribe
I love to paint. It is my favorite hobby and I enjoy taking a white canvas and using color and skill, making it a work of art. The Lord is the ultimate artist, elder Richard G. Scott reminded us. How long has it been since you watched the sunset, the departing rays kissing the clouds, trees, Hills and lowlands? Good night, sometimes tranquilly, sometimes with exuberant bursts of color and form? What of the wonder of a cloudless night when the Lord unveils the marvels of his heavens, the twinkling stars, the moonlight rays to ignite our imagination with his greatness and glory? When last did you observe a tiny Rosebud form? Each day it develops new and impressive character, more promise of beauty until it becomes a majestic rose. You are one of the noblest of God’s creations. Whenever I enter a temple, I am impressed by the physical beauty of every detail as well as the spiritual peace I find inside. In Exodus 31, we read about how the Lord inspired artisans to make the Tabernacle beautiful. The Lord told Moses that he had filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God in wisdom and in understanding and in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship.
The Lord put in the hearts of all that worked on the Tabernacle wisdom that they may make all that I have commanded thee. These artists were inspired to make every detail of the temple beautiful, symbolizing the artistic workmanship of the Lord himself. As the creator of this magnificent world, I am sure that artists are inspired by God in the process of creating art that uplifts and helps us find beauty in people and in our surroundings. I don’t think it is a coincidence that after discussing the beauty of the temple, the Lord spoke to Moses about the Sabbath. As we make the Sabbath a joy for us and for our family, it becomes a pinnacle day of the week where we focus all our energies to gain a greater understanding of the beauty of Salvation, redemption and sacrifice. The Lord commanded six days may work be done, but in the 7th is the Sabbath of rest wholly to the Lord. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever, for in six days the Lord made heaven and Earth, and on the 7th day he rested and was refreshed. Keeping the Sabbath day increases our spiritual development and safeguards us against the world’s influences.
By foregoing our worldly endeavors on God’s Holy day, we are showing Him that we are willing to put Him first in our lives. Living in a society that does not keep the Sabbath is an even more important reason to keep it Holy. It is an outward sign that we are the Lord’s peculiar people. His treasured children. The children of Israel lived in a similar age when the people around them did not keep the Sabbath day Holy. Keeping the Sabbath day Holy was a sacrifice that took a great deal of faith. They put their lives and livelihood in the hands of the Lord, but the Lord promised to bless them for their sacrifice. The existence of a weekly Holy day is a constant reminder of our need for spiritual sustenance and of our duty to God as his witnesses to the world of our faith in Him. Remember that the children of Israel kept Saturday as their Sabbath day. The Bible Dictionary reminds us that the change from observing the last day of the week to the first day of the week is not so important as is the concept and the principle of the Sabbath.
In either case, the Sabbath was symbolic of the mighty words of God, such as the creation of the Earth, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In latter day Revelation we have been promised that if we keep the Sabbath day Holy, then the fullness of the Earth is ours. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel lived in an agrarian society that required some tending of fields and feeding of animals, even on the Sabbath in order to eat. Yet the Lord gave them a promise, If Ye shall keep my Sabbath and reverence my sanctuary, I am the Lord. If Ye will walk in my statutes and keep my Commandments and do them, then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Even though we do not have the same societal constraints as the children of Israel, we can ask ourselves, what would be the analogy for us to have the land yield her increase? How would such a promise affect our livelihood? And how would our goods benefit if they began to yield their fruit?
These are the promises for those who keep the Sabbath day Holy. President Oakes gave us one suggestion on how we can keep the Sabbath day Holy.
Modern day prophets have encouraged us not to shop on Sunday. Those of us who shop on Sunday cannot escape responsibility for encouraging businesses to remain open on that day. Essential services must be provided, but most Sabbath transactions could be avoided if merchants and customers were determined to avoid doing business on the Lord’s day.
Our Sabbath day observance shall be an outward sign of our faithful devotion to God. Can a neighbor, a friend, or your family tell by your actions that you keep the Sabbath day Holy? Do you look at Sunday as the day set apart from the world? Just as the artisans of the temple brought beauty to the temple through their hard work, we can experience the beauty of God’s creations by preparing for his Holy day and finding peace and spiritual renewal every Sunday. Elder Marquee Peterson declared, Our observance, or non observance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward his suffering and Gethsemane his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. It is a sign of whether we are Christians in very deed or whether our conversion is so shallow that commemoration of his atoning sacrifice means little or nothing to us, Mary. We find joy in the Lord this week by finding beauty seeing the world around us and enjoying the spiritual renewal of the Sabbath day.