“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but 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. You 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 ESV).
This command applied to everyone that lived within their borders – family, foreigners, servants and animals included. The reason for the Sabbath was multifaceted, we’ll explore a few of them in this post.
REMEMBER. Remembering is not passive, but active – they were called to REMEMBER that they were slaves in Egypt and the LORD brought them out from their oppressor with His mighty hand. As Christians, God has brought us out of the oppressive domain of darkness and delivered us into His kingdom. He has freed us, we need to actively work on remembering this not only with our heads, but in our hearts. You were powerless & dead, but God, being rich in mercy, called you out of the darkness and brought you into His kingdom of light.
REFLECT. All of their lives were to reflect that they were a people in relationship with the living Creator who is not far from any of us. Jesus has set up His kingdom in the hearts of those whom He has delivered from the domain of darkness. The rule & reign of Christ in our hearts causes us to be increasing reflectors of His glory.
RELY. The people were called to stop one day every week and rely upon the provision of their covenant keeping God. In a subsistence lifestyle, this is very hard to do; it required sacrifice and trust in God, not just in themselves. Though we may not live a subsistence lifestyle like the Israelites did over 3000 years ago, we are still recipients of God’s bountiful provision to us; all things are a gift from His hand.
RHYTHM. The Sabbath pointed back to creation and Eden and created a rhythm for the people – work six days – rest, remember & reflect for one. God modeled this by working six days and resting on one. There is a rhythm to life that is God wrought.
REST. This is much more than just physical rest. This is the restoration of the ultimate rest found in the the garden of Eden; Jesus invites everyone who is weary & heavy laden to find rest for their weary souls (Matthew 11:28-30) in relationship with Him as He reconciles all things to Himself. We know that the Exodus generation failed to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 3:7-19), but this rest is available to those of us who acknowledge that we need the rest that God is offering (Hebrews 4:1-13).
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27). It is a gift for us to enjoy, not to make ultimate or legalistic. Life constantly pushes back on us in all areas as our souls long for peace, rest & deepest satisfaction that is not found under the sun. The sabbath is certainly about physical rest in the here and now, but is ultimately pointing us to an eternal seventh days rest that offers total soul satiation: a kingdom that is already being establish. Are you experiencing this rest are are you still striving to make life work on your own?