May 18, 2014

Yahweh Mekoddishkem: "the Lord Who Sanctifies You"

Exodus 31:12-17

“You must observe my Sabbaths … . so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.”
—Exodus 31:13


There’s little agreement today about how to observe the Lord’s Day. Some Christians keep a tight rein on Sunday observance, while others view it more lightly. With such diverse views, what should we make of the Sabbath-day commands given to the people of Israel?

Any attempt to answer should focus on the meaning of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a sign to the Israelites that God is the Creator. Resting from their labor was (and still is) a way of saying, “God reigns.” Further, keeping the Sabbath was a sign that God’s people were striving to be holy, like their God.

In Exodus 31 we learn that Yahweh Mekoddishkem, “the LORD who sanctifies you,” had made his people holy. Mekoddishkem comes from the Hebrew word qadash, meaning “set apart, consecrated, sanctified, prepared, dedicated, hallowed, made holy.”

Just as observing the Sabbath was important for the Israelites, observing the Lord’s Day is important for us. It’s a reminder of God’s lordship over all things and every day, and it shows that we belong to him.

However the Holy Spirit convicts you to keep the Lord’s Day, remember that Yahweh Mekoddishkem is “the LORD who sanctifies you.” Then you will live accordingly every day of the week.

Holy God, Creator and Sustainer of all things, you have set us apart for yourself. Help us to strive to be holy and live for you. Through Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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