God outlined the work week for Israel. He said, “Six days shalt thou labour, But the seventh day thou shalt not do any work” (Exodus 20:9-10; Deuteronomy 5:13-14). At least, three important points are taught here: (1) God expected them to work and be productive. He has always expected such from man (Genesis 2:15). He still expects such from us today (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8). (2) Man needs rest. A lack of it is harmful both physically and psychologically. Even Jesus, and His disciples needed such (cf. Mark 6:31). No wonder the Bible says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” ( Mark 2:27). We should never get so busy that we fail to rest, relax, “recharge our battery,” and spend time with family and friends. On the other hand, too much rest is not good either (Proverbs 6:9-11; 19:15; 20:13; 23:33-34; 26:14). (3) Man should never get so busy that he fails to take time to worship. On the Sabbath there was to be a holy convocation (sacred assembly, Leviticus 23:3 NIV). The Sabbath was to be observed even in their busiest farming seasons cf. Exodus 34:21. We too should take the time to worship (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Acts 2:42).
It is the first two points that I wish to contemplate at this time. That is, wisdom of God’s work week.
The French Revolution was very atheistic in nature. This is due mainly to the fact that: The First Estate (the Catholic clergy) and The Second Estate (the nobility) only made up 3% of the population but they had financially and politically dominated The Third Estate (everyone else). “Churches were closed or turned into “temples of reason.” (The Human Experience: a World History by Farah, Berens, and Kortepater). Orders were given to post at graveyards a sign reading, “Death is an eternal sleep” (Brittanica, vol. 7, p. 654 c. 1979). In time, this de-Christianization policy would end due to fears of alienating other nations.
During this anti-Christian fever a new calendar was developed known as The French Republic Calendar. It was adopted on October 24, 1793. Napoleon abolished the calendar effective January 1, 1806. The calendar eliminated the mention of Catholic holidays. It did away with the seven-day week and even the name “Sunday” (though such is not of Biblical origin).
The year was divided into twelve months. The months were divided into three decades, or ‘weeks’ of ten days each. The five or six extra days needed to complete the year were added at the end of each year, after twelve months.
The days were divided into ten hours, each having 100 decimal minutes and each minute having 100 decimal seconds. Thus an hour was over twice as long as a conventional hour, a minute slightly longer than a conventional minute, a second slightly shorter than a conventional second.
The months were named: Vintage (starting late September), Mist (starting late October), Frost (starting late November), Snowy (starting late December), Rainy (starting late January), Windy (starting late February), Buds (starting late March), Flower (starting late April), Meadow (starting late May), Harvest (starting late June), Hot (Starting late July), and Fruits (starting late August).
The days were named by their number (first day, second day, third day,… tenth day).
The years were written in Roman numerals. The count beginning from September 22, 1792 (the day the French First Republic was proclaimed).
The work week provided one day off out of each ten. Wikipedia cites one of the reasons that the calendar was abolished as being “because having a ten-day work week gave workers less rest (one day off every ten days instead of one day off every seven).” David Barton writes, “Following the French Revolution (1789), France made a calendar change so that workers were allowed one day rest in ten rather than the traditional religiously based one in seven… Apparently, the result on the workers’ health and morale was so detrimental that one day rest in seven was reinstituted” (Original Intent, p. 67 footnote).
It seems to me that the wisdom of God is seen in even His instructions He gave to Israel concerning the work week. He knows what is best. let us trust Him in all things. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).