Skipping a Commandment
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, December 23.
ixteen-year-old Nathaniel was surprised as he listened to a pastor preach in the West African country of Ghana.
The pastor was reading from the Bible at the pulpit on a Sunday, and Nathaniel was following along in his own Bible at his seat. With his Bible opened to Exodus 20, the pastor went through the Ten Commandments, one by one.
But he skipped one of the commandments.
After the sermon, Nathaniel went to the pastor to ask why he hadn’t mentioned the fourth commandment.
“You can worship on any day,” the pastor said. “It’s not important which day you keep.”
Nathaniel’s surprise grew. He had never thought about any of the Ten Commandments being optional.
At home, he read and reread the fourth commandment in his Bible. He read the words of God, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11, NKJV).
He had gone to the Sunday church at the invitation of a friend. The next Sunday, he went to the pastor of his own church to ask about the fourth commandment. His pastor said the same thing as the other pastor.
“You can worship on any day,” the pastor said.
Nathaniel began to study the Bible in earnest. Where did the Bible say he could worship on any day? He prayed to God to reveal the truth to Him. He found an answer in James 2:10, which says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” He began to think that it might be important to God to observe Saturday, the seventh-day Sabbath.
Nathaniel had heard about Seventh-day Adventists, and he didn’t know of any other Christians who worshiped on Saturdays. But there were no Seventh-day Adventists in his town.
He prayed, “If the seventh day is truly important to You, please cause Seventh-day Adventists to come to my village and conduct evangelistic meetings here.”
He thought that an answer to his prayer would prove two things: that God had heard his prayer, and that the Sabbath was important to Him.
He repeated his prayer the next day and the next.
“If the seventh day is the holy day of God, let Adventists come to my town to do evangelistic meetings,” he prayed.
About eight months later, the Adventists came.
Nathaniel was so happy!
At the end of the evangelistic meetings, Nathaniel was baptized, together with his younger sister who had attended the meetings with him. In all, 50 people were baptized, and a Seventh-day Adventist church opened in the town.
Today, Nathaniel is a 23-year-old university student studying to become a teacher.
“God answered my prayers,” he says. “Before the Adventists arrived in my town, they had already won a soul.”
Part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help expand Seventh-day Adventist education in Ghana. The funds will go toward the construction of new classrooms and dormitories at the Nursing and Midwifery Training College, which opened with 22 students in 2015 and now has 770 students. Demand is high, and the school lacks the capacity to admit additional students. This is a real mission school, where only 30 percent of the students are Adventists. A number of students join the church every year. Thank you for considering a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering on December 30.