First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Rev. Toby Jones, Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720
231-547-9122


Week Four- Sabbath Study Guide

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   Handout for Week 4 of the Advent Sabbath Bible Study

The focus of our 4th and final study is Yahweh’s attempt – through the Sabbath command and others – to protect the neighbor, the vulnerable, and the poor in the society that Israel was to establish. In other words, the Sabbath command and practice was never intended to be an individual thing. It was and is to be societal, nation-wide, if you will.

Begin by reading Exodus 20:8-11, where we began 3 weeks ago. Pay particular attention to verse 10 and its clear intention to provide sabbath rest for all.

Read through the remaining commandments in Exodus 20:12-17, asking yourself what these other 6 commandments do to protect the neighbor and the neighborhood.

The next set of readings are disconcerting, to say the least. They are prophetic texts that reveal how angry Yahweh gets at those who mistreat, manipulate, and harm their neighbors, all while pretending to worship God. Again, pay particular attention to where God’s intention to protect the vulnerable and needy neighbor is clearest and where the sabbath is mentioned.

Read Isaiah 1:12-17 – record your observations and questions

Read Amos 5:21-24, 8:4-12 – record your observations and questions

Read through Brueggemann’s entire 5th Chapter on “Resistance to Multitasking”

Notice where he references Israel’s apparent Sabbath keeping and how it is
cancelled out or delegitimized by Israel’s mistreatment of her neighbors. Be sure to mark passages you’d like to share with the class.

Read Matthew 6:24 – while this is not a new passage for you, how do you understand it now, in light of our study and of this week’s readings?

The entire Torah is filled with laws whose sole purpose is to protect the neighbor and to eliminate the conditions that might lead to an enduring underclass.

Read Deuteronomy 15:1-15 – what do you think of this practice?
                   – what difference could it make in their society?

                    – what about ours?

Read through the remaining Brueggemann Pages – 69-73, noting what interests you and what you would like to talk about with the group.

Week 4 Sabbath Study Guide Reading