Isaiah 58:13
If you turn your foot from breaking the Sabbath, from doing as you please on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight, and the LORD's holy day honorable, if you honor it by not going your own way or seeking your own pleasure or speaking idle words,
Sermons
The Sabbath IdealW.M. Statham Isaiah 58:13
The Universal Sabbath-LawR. Tuck Isaiah 58:13
A Healthy ChurchJ. Williams.Isaiah 58:8-14
Break Forth as the DawnProf. J. Skinner,D. D.Isaiah 58:8-14
God the RewarderIsaiah 58:8-14
The Secret of Prosperity to Nations, Churches, and MenR. Paisley.Isaiah 58:8-14
A Sabbath-WeekR. E. Paget, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
Better for the Sunday RestChristian Budget.Isaiah 58:13-14
Early English Law an the SabbathR. F. Horton.Isaiah 58:13-14
Rabbinical ProhibitionsR. W. Dale, LL. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
Sabbath ObservanceT. Best, M. A.Isaiah 58:13-14
Sabbath Observance a Godward DutyProf. S. R. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
Sabbath-SpeakingJ. A. Alexander.Isaiah 58:13-14
Speech Rest on SundayF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Brightest of DaysT. De W, Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Claims of the SabbathE. Johnson Isaiah 58:13, 14
The Day of Sacred RestW.M. Statham Isaiah 58:13, 14
The Institution of the SabbathJ. Saurin.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Luxury of the SabbathProf. G. A. Smith, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath a DelightC. Neale, M. A.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath a DelightA. Smellie, M. A.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath a DelightF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath a Festive TimeA. T. Pierson, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath a Rest Form SelfR. F. Horton.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath Compared to the Best Room of the HouseH. W. Beecher.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath DayJ. Saurin.Isaiah 58:13-14
The Sabbath Made HonourableT. Case, M. A.Isaiah 58:13-14
Thine Own WaysR. W. Dale, LL. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
Turning the Foot from the SabbathF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14
Useless WordsF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 58:13-14


I. THE HOLINESS OF THE SABBATH. "The prophet regards the fast-days as forms without authority and significance. All the more strict is his view of the claims of the sabbath" (Cheyne). It is emphatically a consecrated day, and the foot is to be turned aside from it as if it were holy ground, like that where Moses put the shoes from his feet (Exodus 3:5). The foot, as instrument of travel, is to be "removed from evil" (Proverbs 4:27), and its "path is to be pondered" (Proverbs 4:29). Selfish, merely human business, is not to be done on that day, which may be viewed as a part of that great duty of sacrifice which runs through the Law. The day was to be peculiarly Jehovah's own. A particular temperance and modesty of the tongue was suitable to its observance. Falsehood (Hosea 10:4; Job 15:13) would especially desecrate it. Scripture is especially strong on the significance of words. For they express the soul, and reflect in their expression influences of good or evil on the soul again. There should be reserve and economy of speech (a lesson disregarded too much in modern times), for an element of sin is certain to find its way into excessive loquacity (Proverbs 10:19; Ecclesiastes 5:3). A "tonguey man" almost means the same as a malicious talker (Psalm 140:11). The regulation of the tongue may, therefore, in great part, be taken as the measure of spiritual self-control and sobriety, as the expression of the living sacrifice of the heart.

II. THE BLESSING ATTACHED - SPIRITUAL DELIGHT. Joy in Jehovah, the Eternal, is manifested to men in grace, in proportion as they approach him in obedience. "You shall no longer be left to barren ordinances and to unanswered prayers. No one has ever properly observed the sabbath who did not find as a consequence that he had increased pleasure in the existence, character, and service of Jehovah" (cf. Job 22:21-26; Psalm 37:4, for the illustration of the principle involved). Triumphant possession of the land of promise. (For the phrase, see Deuteronomy 32:13; cf. Habakkuk 3:19; Psalm 18:83; Amos 4:13. For the idea, see Isaiah 65:9; Ezekiel 34:13, 14; Ezekiel 36:1-12.) The hills and fortresses of Palestine, so greatly beloved by the patriot-hearts of the prophets, shall be recovered by the people, once following the righteous moral lead of Jehovah. - J.









If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath.
If the true fast (vers. 3-7) typifies the Israelite's duties towards his neighbour, the Sabbath represents his duties towards God.

(Prof. S. R. Driver, D. D.)

"If thou turnest thy foot away from the Sabbath" is equivalent to saying, " If thou dost not tread its holy ground with the foot of week-day work."

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

We shall consider the words of the text —

I. WITH REGARD TO THE JEWS. With that view we shall state —

1. The reasons for the institution of the Sabbath.

2. The manner in which the prophet required it to be celebrated.

3. The promises made to those who worthily hallow the Sabbath day.

II. WITH REGARD TO CHRISTIANS.

1. Are Christians. obliged to observe a day of rest?

2. Is that day celebrated with all the sanctity it requires?

(J. Saurin.)

Four considerations gave occasion for the institution of the Sabbath day.

1. God was wishful to perpetuate two original truths on which the whole evidence of religion devolves; the first is, that the world had a beginning; the second, that God is its Author.

2. The second reason was to prevent idolatry. This remark claims peculiar attention, many of the Mosaic precepts being founded on the situation in which the Jews were placed. Let this general remark be applied to the subject in hand. The people, on leaving Egypt, "were separated, from a nation that worshipped" the sun, the moon, and the stars. The ancient Egyptians,' says Diodorus of Sicily, "struck with the beauty of the universe, thought it owed its origin to two eternal dignities, that presided over all the others: the one was the sun, to whom they gave the name of Osiris; the other was the moon, to whom they gave the name of Isis." Cod, to preserve His people from these errors, instituted a festival which sapped the whole system, and which avowedly contemplated every creature of the universe as the production of the Supreme Being. And this may be the reason why Moses remarked to the Jews, on leaving Egypt, that God renewed the institution of the Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:15).

3. God was wishful to promote humanity.

4. In a word, the design of God, in the institution of the Sabbath, was to recall to the minds of men the recollection of their original equality: he requires masters and servants alike to abstain from labour, so as in some sort to confound the diversity of their conditions, and to abate that pride, of which superior rank is so common a source.

(J. Saurin.)

I. THE DUTY is thus stated: " If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath," etc.

1. This, then, is the first point to be noticed with respect to the observance of the Sabbath. It is, says God, "My holy day," the day which I have hallowed for Myself, which I have reserved for My own. We are no more at liberty to determine for ourselves how we will employ the Sabbath, than the Israelites were at liberty to determine for themselves to what uses they would put the tabernacle, or the temple, which had been built and sanctified for God, according to His direction and for His own peculiar service; and, by regarding any of the Sabbath hours as being at our own disposal, we are guilty of the same profanation with which the Jews would have been chargeable, had they determined to do their pleasure with respect to the uses which they would make of God's holy habitation, respecting which He had said, "This is My rest for ever: here will I dwell."

2. Let us suppose, then, that we have turned away our foot from trampling upon God's day, by consulting our own will and inclination as to the way in which we employ it, and are wishing and waiting to know what is the will of God concerning it. The text thus proceeds: "And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable." To call anything is to give it a name corresponding with its nature, or to describe it by its qualities. We are to call the Sabbath "a delight;" or are to call "the holy of the Lord," i.e. the holy day of the Lord, "honourable." Here, then, are two properties of the Sabbath, two points of view in which we are to regard it. It should be so distinguished from other days by the peculiar delight which it affords, as well aa by the pre-eminent dignity with which it is invested.

3. The honour to be paid to the Sabbath is our part: the delight to be found in the Sabbath is God's part. And the text proceeds to show that if we honour His day, God will surely keep His promise of making it a delight. Let us, then, carefully consider the way in which we should "honour the Sabbath. What is said to be "ore" own is evidently distinguished from what belongs to the Sabbath. It comprehends whatever we have to do, or to delight in, which appertains to the six days' work from which God ceased, and which He had ended on the seventh day, in contradistinction to what appertains to the seventh day which God set apart and sanctified and blessed. There is, therefore, no reference in these words to sinful ways, or to unlawful pleasures; but to the appointed duties and allowed delights of the six days which God has given to us for these purposes. Heaven — the rest which remaineth for the people of God — is described in the Epistle to the Hebrews as a Sabbath-keeping, a Sabbath-rest. The Sabbath is a figure of that blessed and holy state. "Our own ways and pleasures," then, are those which belong to this lower creation; and which we shall have done with when we depart out of the world; and for these things six days are given to us. The things of the Sabbath are all such things as shall be perfected and enjoyed for ever in that city of Cod, in those courts above, where Sabbaths never end. These remarks will furnish us with a practical rule for determining what may be done and what may not be done on the Sabbath day. Where there is the "single eye," that is, the simple aim, to do the will of God, all doubts will be readily solved and difficulties disappear, and the duty he made plain by asking such questions as these: Is this secular work necessary for the supply of our daily wants, for the relief of suffering nature, for the accomplishing the will and service of God? Is it indispensable to these ends that it should be done, and done on the Sabbath day? If, in the conscientious exercise of an enlightened judgment, we decide in the affirmative, then we may do such necessary things with confidence and comfort. But, even in these things, care must be exercised that they do not interfere, beyond the just and reasonable limits of necessity, and charity, with the appropriate "duties" and employments of the day. Not finding their own pleasure. Pleasure is here evidently contrasted with business, God has given to us not only our six days labour and work, but also our six days gratifications and sources of enjoyment. There are the delights of earth, as well as the duties of earth. There is Nature, with all her various works. There are also the pleasures of literature, in all their vast and various extent. There is, further, the enjoyment of social intercourse, and an almost countless number of modes of refreshment, for both body and mind, which God would have us to use, as opportunity is given and need may be, to invigorate us for the more serious employments of the head or the hands. But these are "our own pleasure;" and this we are not to find on God's holy day. Mark the expression, "not finding thine own pleasure." In order to "find," we seek. "Our own pleasure " may casually come in our way; but we must not look for it, endeavour after it, or pursue it as our object, in any manner or measure upon the Sabbath. The pleasures which we must endeavour on this day to "find must be such as are not of earthly origin or of man's invention, but such as will endure when the world shall be no more, and will furnish a part of the business and the bliss of the Christian's happy and eternal home. Further, "not speaking (thine own) words." "Thine own," here, is in italics; it is inserted by the translators, and only encumbers the passage. The meaning is, not doing thine own ways, not finding thine own pleasure, "nor speaking words;" that is, not speaking words concerning thine own ways and thine own pleasure.

II. To such AN OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH A SPECIAL PROMISE IS MADE. "Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord." If we make the Sabbath a holy day, God will make it a happy day. In the application of this promise to ourselves, we must suppose and take it for granted that we are reconciled to God. Then, in the very measure in which we honour the Sabbath, God will make the duties and employments of the day channels of joy and peace and sacred pleasure to the soul. And I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, etc. This is a promise of national prosperity and temporal advancement, with a confirmation of the blessing pronounced by Isaac upon Jacob and his posterity. And, although these were shadows of better things to the Christian Church, and the fulfilment of this promise is now to be looked for in spiritual and eternal blessings, yet it has frequently been testified, on observation and experience, that a holy Sabbath has been followed by a happy week; and, when we honour God's holy day, we shall not fail to find that His blessing still rests upon it.

(T. Best, M. A.)

In almost the earhest, if not the earliest, code of English law — the laws of Enach, King of Wessex — there was a provision made for the observance of Sunday. According to these laws if a slave was forced by his master to work upon Sunday, he was by that very fact set free, and the lord had to pay a fine. If the slave worked by his own will and without the direction of his lord, he was subjected to corporal chastisement, and if a freeman worked on the Holy Day he became a slave. He lost his freedom, or else he had to pay what, at that time, was the almost impossible fine of sixty shillings. Now that law at the very beginning of English legislation may have had very much to do with the position that the Anglo-Saxon race has taken in the world. According to the promise of this old prophet the word of the Lord has said, "I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth if thou keepest the Sabbath day."

(R. F. Horton.)

I suppose the essence of this Christian Sabbath was never more perfectly described than in the words of the prophet.

1. The first principle of the Christian Sabbath is that there should be one day in the week on which we are not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words, that is to say, the Christian Sabbath is not to be, like the civic Sunday, rest from work, important as that may be, but it is a rest from self, which is all-important, and is, indeed, the creation and the preservation of the spiritual in man. It is a rest from self, not to speak our own words on that day, not to take our own pleasures, not to adopt our own way. I think we see what is meant if we put it in this way. Our life as men is literally rooted in God, and its health depends on our knowing it and recognizing it.

2. Now, when we have recognized that this is the purpose of the day we still have to consider how that purpose is best accomplished. According to the practice of the Old Testament, and, apparently according to the intention of the New, the sanctuary, the place of public worship, is the means by which that can be accomplished.

3. I think we ought to honestly face the question which is often raised at the present time, whether the life I am describing cannot be maintained without the sanctuary. Men say frequently to-day that they find they can really worship better in their own homes, and still more in the open country, than in the assembly of the house of God. Now, the only danger I see in that position is that by the very necessity of the ease it violates the first requirement of the Sabbath as it is here stated. You stay at home in your house or you go out into the country on Sunday. In doing that you are going your own way, you are seeking your own pleasure, you are following your own bent — that is to say, you are violating the very principle on which this Sabbath rests. And it does not seem very improbable that when you have violated the very principle at the beginning you will succeed in recovering it at the end.

(R. F. Horton.)

Common-sense must tell us that no man who is going his own way, finding his own pleasure, and speaking his own words, for six days in the week, will abstain from them on the seventh. The devotion, the obedience, and forgetfulness of self which should mark the devout worshipper on Sunday, must be his companions all the week through. And the exercise of those graces through the week must be our habitual preparation for the Lord's Day. So that, in fact, the teaching of the prophet amounts to this — that the true servant of God will at no time do his own ways, find his own pleasure, or speak his own words, where ways, pleasure, or words will not be such as God would love to look upon. The Christian will seek God's grace, that in all things he may follow the example of his Lord, who declared, "I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." I appeal to your own hearts and consciences, to what you know of yourselves or have seen in others, whether any good has ever come to any of us, from going our own way, finding our own pleasure, speaking our own words?

(R. E. Paget, D. D.)

His supposed that Isaiah required the Jews to keep what has been called a Puritanical Sabbath. I believe that this is a complete misconception of the prophet's meaning. Their "own ways," which the people were forbidden to follow on the Sabbath, were the common secular labours of the week. Doing their own pleasure" has no reference to recreation or amusement. Some translators render it doing their "own business;" but it probably means here, as it constantly means elsewhere, doing "what they liked." Luther translates it admirably, doing their "own will." They were to spend the Sabbath, as God had commanded them, in rest; they were not at liberty to follow their own inclination by carrying on their ordinary trade. Their "own words, which they were not to speak on the Sabbath, were the words in which their business was transacted; words which, like the business itself, belonged to the other days of the week. What the prophet forbids on the seventh day is what the Commandment forbids — not pleasure, but work.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

The stricter Rabbinical schools built upon this general prohibition of all work innumerable minute precepts, many of which are so grotesque that to quote them would be to answer no other purpose than to amuse. One ingenious commentator, who happily appears to have had only a very few disciples, insisted that as it was a duty to rest from the beginning to the end of the Sabbath, all muscular exertion was sinful; and that, therefore, strict fidelity to the Commandment required that a man should remain during all the twenty-four hours of the Sabbath in exactly the same position, without moving a limb or a finger, a kind of "rest which must have been very much more exhausting than hard work."

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

1. Every house of any consideration has in it a best room. It is usually the largest in the house, and the most comely. It usually is furnished with the choicest things which the owner can afford, and represents the best outward estate of his household. Here is the best carpet. Here are the best colours. Here is the best furniture. Here are hung the best pictures. Here are the chairs burnished and covered. And here, it may be, is the sofa, luxurious with extra springs. The few choice treasures are put upon the mantelpiece, or on some corner shelf. Whatever there is that stands apart from common uses by being a little better the parlour receives. And this room is scrupulously kept — too scrupulously, often. All festive occasions are celebrated in it. It is the room of honour. It is here that we devote ourselves to our company when we would show them hospitality. It stands in the house as a perpetual reminder of beauty — what little beauty we can command; of hospitality — so much as we are able to exercise of it; of superiority. A best room is not simply an emblem of vanity, as cynics would say. To have a room which has in it choice things, is rather the unconscious inspiration of ideality, it is a desire to maintain it in the household; and it is a silent but real influence for refinement and for higher living.

2. It is a sad thing to see a person or a family that makes one day just like another; that does not care to make one day better than any of the others; that regards all things as good enough. On a low level, it is a moral influence that leads one to desire to dress better on some occasions than on others, and to spread a better table on some occasions than on others. It is aspiration in one of its lower forms. How, what the parlour is to the house, the Jewish Sabbath and its substitute, the Christian's Lord's Day, were meant to be to the week. The week is a house, and Sunday is the best room in it, and it ought to have the best things put into it, and it ought to be kept religiously; and it is to exercise upon all our time just the same unconscious influence, or conscious influence, as the case may be, which a well-prepared and well-kept parlour does invariably exercise upon all the occupants of the house. Every week was to have its parlour day. It was to be a day that should be looked up to by the young and the old as the best day of the week. In other words, it was to be "a delight." It was to be "honourable," and so, memorable.

(H. W. Beecher.)

And call the Sabbath a delight.
The word is a strong one, Delight, Delicacy, Luxury.

(Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)

I. POINT OUT A FEW PARTICULARS "WILL THE TRUE BELIEVER ESTEEMS AND CALLS THE SABBATH A DELIGHT; shewing at the same time why the natural man should find no delight, at least no holy delight, in that day.

1. Because it brings with it a cessation and rest from worldly cares.

2. Because on that day he hopes to learn much in the school of Christ.

3. Because of that holy communion which it allows with the people of God.

4. Because of the remembrances which that day brings with it. On the Sabbath God rested from His work. On the Sabbath, how many of our Saviour's gracious miracles were wrought! On the Sabbath, how many spiritual miracles doth He still work! On our Sabbath day it was that our Lord burst the bonds of death. Is not here matter of pleasurable meditation? Salvation is finished; and man restored to the favour and presence and image of God I

5. Because it is a type and foretaste of the heavenly rest — of the eternal Sabbath.

II. SHOW HOW WE MAY EMPLOY IT SO AS TO MAKE IT MOST DELIGHTFUL. By giving the whole day to God, so far as possibly can be done, in spiritual exercises.

(C. Neale, M. A.)

We are to find in this day —

1. The joy of healthy repose.

2. The joy of domestic reunion and consecration.

3. The joy of eternal Sabbatism.

(T. De W, Talmage, D. D.)

The day of worship should be a day of gladness.

1. It brings rest from the toils and cares of the week. From the dust; and the sweat, the grime and the languor, I shake myself free for a while. I reach an oasis, with palm-trees and a well, in my pilgrimage through the deserts. I sit down under God's shadow.

2. It invites to the noblest exercises and employments. Mind and heart, lips and soul and all my nature, unite in prayer, in praise, in the study and contemplation of the things which are unseen and eternal. There is no work on earth to compare with it.

3. It introduces to the communion of souls. I go up to God's house in company with many others. I realize that I am not alone, that I am a member of a brotherhood and family, that all around me are kindred souls. It is a thought that brings me strength, and that satisfies my love.

4. It lifts me into the presence of my Lord — Father, and Son, and Spirit. I dwell in His sanctuary. I hearken to His voice. I feel His quickening and invigorating touch. I receive afresh His baptism and unction. Behold, God is in this place, and it is for me the gate of heaven.

(A. Smellie, M. A.)

"If thou tallest the Sabbath a delight," because it leads thee to God; not "a burden," because it leads thee from thine everyday life (Amos 8:5).

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

"It is a festival time for man's higher nature in communion with the unseen. As the tired eye, which has been strained by long and close application to some work near at hand, rests itself by gazing on the far horizons or the stars, so there is a rest in lifting thought from the near and the lower objects which too often engross us, and fixing it upon the unseen and eternal. This is, perhaps, the grand reason for our Saviour's own comment: "The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

Honourable.
When do we make the Sabbath an "honourable," glorious day?

1. When we make honourable preparation for it.

2. When we give it honourable entertainment.

3. When we have a precious esteem of every moment of Sabbath time, and are jealous lest any drop of it should run waste.

4. When we have a singular esteem of all the institutions and ordinances of the day.

5. When it is the grief of our souls that we can keep Sabbaths no better, and we strive cordially and conscientiously to keep the next better than we did the last.

(T. Case, M. A.)

Nor speaking thine own words.
"Nor speaking thine own words." "Talking talk."

(J. A. Alexander.)

void of meaning, and of needless number: the phrase, as in Hosea 10:4, is here applied to unspiritual gossip and bombast.

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

Hitzig on this passage remarks that "the law regarding the Sabbath has here already received the Jewish addition, that 'speaking is work. " But from the promise that God's Sabbath-rest was a rest from His speaking the creative words (Psalm 33:6), the only conclusion drawn was that one must rest on the Sabbath, in a certain measure, from speaking as well as working; and when Rabbi Simon ben Jochai called to his talkative old mother on the Sabbath, "Sabbath-keeping is called silence," this was not meant to be understood as if speaking in itself were working, and all speaking on the Sabbath was therefore forbidden. The Rabbinical explanation of the present passage is as follows: "Let not thy speaking on the Sabbath be the same as that on working days.

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

Scientists say that telegraph wires are better conductors on Monday than on Saturday, on account of their Sunday rest. The well-proved fact that human beings profit by a weekly rest-day emphasizes the protest of Christian people against the secularization of the Sabbath.

(Christian Budget.)

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