Sabbath is about who God is. It’s not about what we need to live healthy lives. It’s not about making sure we get our rest so that we can be productive at work, be nice to our family and stay awake during Bible Studies (though none of those things are bad things). Sabbath reminds us who God is. Because as we’ll see, on the Sabbath, we rest to remember God.
8“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:8-11
- The Hebrew word Sabbath (Strong’s H7676) is an intensive form of the word for stop, rest or cease. (H7673a).
- We remember the Sabbath because God rested after He created the heavens and the earth (Exodus 20:11).
- God rested because His work was finished (Genesis 2:1-3).
- We rest to remember that God has created us and He will complete that work.
- God didn’t give this command because resting makes us more productive or better people, but because the day off allows us to remember God created us and God will sustain us.
First reason: We rest to remember that God’s work in creating us is finished.
12And the LORD said to Moses, 13“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. 14You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” – Exodus 31:12-17
- The Sabbath served as a sign of the covenant between God and His people.
- God requires the Sabbath as a way of reminding His people that He has chosen them.
- We rest because God has chosen us. The Sabbath reminds us of our basic identity.
- Sabbath is a way to say that “busy-ness” isn’t what makes me important.
Second reason: We rest to remember God chose us.
12“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.’” – Deuteronomy 5:12-15
- The first listing of the 10 commandment in Exodus 20 linked the Sabbath to creation.
- In this listing 40 years later, observing the Sabbath is linked to the Exodus.
- Sabbath is about our dependence on God.
Third reason: we rest to remember God redeemed us.
- If a non-believer asked you to explain the Sabbath, what would you say?
- Define the attitude of your culture today toward rest? Define your attitude toward rest. How are they similar and different?
- Define the attitude of culture today toward work. Define your attitude toward work. How are they similar and different?
- Define the biblical definition of rest and work. How is it similar to and different from yours? From Your culture?