As we appear to be heading into economic trying times, it is a good time to review what the Lord has given his people to be secure during times of hardship and all times. There are three major commandments that the Lord has given to bless his people not only spiritually but also temporally. Millennial type blessings are promised for those who properly keep these commandments. Those three commandments are: 1. Tithing, 2. Keeping the Sabbath holy, and 3. Fasting. In today's post we will examine the Sabbath Day.
One of the best scriptures that outlines proper Sabbath worship and its attendant blessings is D&C 59. It was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith during his first visit to the promised land, Jackson County Missouri. The revelation was given on a Sunday, August 7, 1831. The Lord referred to this day as "this, the Lord's day" (vs. 12) thus confirming the concept that the Sabbath was to be on Sunday rather than Saturday.
One of the major purposes of the Sabbath was to more fully keep unspotted from the world and to go to the house of prayer and offer up sacraments (vs. 9). Sacraments refer to those things that contain sacred elements. As great and beautiful as the outdoors may be and in nature one may feel close to God, the commandment is to go to his house and not his wilderness. It is a day of rest and to pay devotions (vs. 10). A devotion is a profound dedication or attachment to something, in this case it is directed to God. The Sabbath is a day to offer up vows (vs. 11). A vow is a solemn promise, in this case it would be our baptismal covenants, agreements when we took upon ourselves the priesthood, and temple covenants. It is a day to offer up oblations and to confess sins (vs. 12) Oblations are offerings made to deity.
According to the Lord the Sabbath is also a day of fasting, so our food should be prepared with singleness of heart (vs. 13). The whole Sabbath is a day of fasting or doing without the things of this world and working only for the things that pertain to the Kingdom of God. So, from the Lord's point of view, every Sunday is a fast day of not doing our pleasure on His Holy Day (Isaiah 58:13). On the first Sunday of the month we also add to our fasting going without food and water.
It is important to note that the Lord's list of keeping the Sabbath holy only includes what we are to bring to his house of worship and not what we take away when it is over. We have all heard some complain that the Sacrament talks are not always great, or our Sunday School teacher is boring, or they do not get very much out of going to Church. The Lord's list focuses on what each of us are to contribute to Sabbath worship and not what we take away from it. Sometimes we become so egocentrically oriented that we forget what our responsibilities are.
Now let's focus on the blessing that come to those who properly keep the Sabbath holy.
1. The fullness of the earth will be given (vs. 16).
2. The good things that can be used for food, clothing, and housing (vs. 17).
3. The earth will be beautiful and please the eye and gladden the heart (vs. 18-39).
4. Food and clothing will be provided for, taste and smell will enhance life and the soul will be enlived (vs. 19).
Finally we are to recognize the hand of God in all things and obey his commandments (vs. 21).