We have here, 1. A plain intimation of the observing of a seventh day sabbath, not only before the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai, but before the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, and therefore, from the beginning, Gen. 2:3. If the sabbath had now been first instituted, how could Moses have understood what God said to him (Exod. 16:5), concerning a double portion to be gathered on the sixth day, without making any express mention of the sabbath? And how could the people so readily take the hint (Exod. 16:22), even to the surprise of the rulers, before Moses had declared that it was done with a regard to the sabbath, if they had not had some knowledge of the sabbath before? The setting apart of one day in seven for holy work, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was a divine appointment ever since God created man upon the earth, and the most ancient of positive laws. The way of sabbath-sanctification is the good old way. 2. The double provision which God made for the Israelites, and which they were to make for themselves, on the sixth day: God gave them on the sixth day the bread of two days, Exod. 16:29. Appointing them to rest on the seventh day, he took care that they should be no losers by it; and none ever will be losers by serving God. On that day they were to fetch in enough for two days, and to prepare it, Exod. 16:23. The law was very strict, that they must bake and seeth, the day before, and not on the sabbath day. This does not now make it unlawful for us to dress meat on the Lord’s day, but directs us to contrive our family affairs so that they may hinder us as little as possible in the work of the sabbath. Works of necessity, no doubt, are to be done on that day; but it is desirable to have as little as may be to do of things necessary to the life that now is, that we may apply ourselves the more closely to the one thing needful. That which they kept of for their food on the sabbath day did not putrefy, Exod. 16:24. When they kept it in opposition to a command (Exod. 16:20) it stank; when they kept it in obedience to a command it was sweet and good; for every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 3. The intermission of the manna on the seventh day. God did not send it then, and therefore they must not expect it, nor go out to gather, Exod. 16:25, 26. This showed that it was not produced by natural causes, and that it was designed for a confirmation of the divine authority of the law which was to be given by Moses. Thus God took an effectual course to make them remember the sabbath day; they could not forget it, nor the day of preparation for it. Some, it seems, went out on the seventh day, expecting to find manna (Exod. 16:27); but they found none, for those that will find must seek in the appointed time: seek the Lord while he may be found. God, upon this occasion, said to Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments? Exod. 16:28. Why did he say this to Moses? He was not disobedient. No, but he was the ruler of a disobedient people, and God charges it upon him that he might the more warmly charge it upon them, and might take care that their disobedience should not be through any neglect or default of his. It was for going out to seek for manna on he seventh day that they were thus reproved. Note, (1.) Disobedience, even in a small matter, is very provoking. (2.) God is jealous for the honour of his sabbaths. If walking out on the sabbath to seek for food was thus reproved, walking out on that day purely to find our own pleasure cannot be justified.
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