The First Four

The first four commandments of the Decalogue still provide the foundation for biblical patterns of worship. First, the worship of God’s people is exclusively for Yahweh alone (Exodus 20:2-3). Second, the worship of Israel’s God is to be free from the use of idols, any representation of Yahweh that is like anything in creation. Third, the worship of God’s people is to shape the integrity of those who are called by God’s name. They are to bear the divine name carefully and reverently use the divine name only in ways that honor Yahweh (Exodus 20:7). And fourth, holiness is grounded in how God’s people “remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.” To work six days and “cease” (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word for sabbath) working on every seventh day was meant to help Israel reenact the very rhythm of God’s work and celebrate a “holiday,” a holy day, in the ordering of creation itself (Ex. 20:8-11). Trusting God with time to work and time to rest is foundational to the pattern of holiness that His people were to make evident.

—Robbie F. Castleman, Robbie F.  Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 44-45

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