ENTER HIS REST: The Experience of the Sabbath Part 2

Now when the children of Israel get to Mt. Sinai and the LORD gives them His Law of Love, He includes a command about the Sabbath and how to experience it in Exodus 20:8-11…

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

We know, according to this passage and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, that the reason why we are called to “Remember the Sabbath…” is because our Creator is our Redeemer who saved us. However, when it comes to how to experience the Sabbath rest, God simply gives us these instructions…

Rest and Give Rest

This means you…

“Keep it holy…” This means to keep it special, unique and set apart from all the other days. It is unique sacred space in time to deepen the relationship with God and others. The Sabbath is about relationships and relationships need time. Very much like a birthday or an anniversary, you are carving out time, 24 hours every seventh day, to lock in on this Person that you love and do things They enjoy.

“…do no work…” You and those you have influence over are to stop doing the work that earns you a living, so you can be free to rest in the grace of God.

 For… the Lord… rested…” God models the pattern of resting and giving rest. Since God rested after completing His work of creation in six days, He invites us to rest after our six day work week. Therefore we are to replicate God’s rest pattern by resting ourselves and giving rest to those around us.

This principle of resting and giving rest to others also means that you don’t rob others of rest by causing them to work on the Sabbath. This is what Nehemiah was deeply concerned about with the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Nehemiah 13:15-19…

In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions. Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day.
— Nehemiah 13:15-19 NKJV

 By buying and selling, especially with the surrounding nations that the LORD was trying to reach, bringing in burdens from the work that they were doing, they were not resting nor giving rest to the nations. Instead, they were robbing themselves and others rest on the Sabbath day, in direct violation of God’s Law of love. If your spouse never acknowledged you on your anniversary by spending special time with you, treating that day like any other work day or not even saying “Happy Anniversary” to you, you’d soon question how special you are to your spouse. Especially if you used to do those things and now it doesn’t seem so special to you. This is why we avoid doing the work that earns us a living and buying or selling things on the Sabbath day. Another reason is that the Sabbath is a protest against socio-economic injustice. It says that God values each human life as equal and did not design us to be machines that keep going and going in slavish bondage to consumerism and materialism. On this day God says you’re free from all that!

Instead you are called to…

CJ at Arise 1.jpg

CJ Cousins

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Pastor, Author.

This blog series is from the “Enter His Rest” Fall Sermon Series at Vienna SDA Church preached by Pastor CJ Cousins.

This blog series is from the “Enter His Rest” Fall Sermon Series at Vienna SDA Church preached by Pastor CJ Cousins.