Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”
After looking at the first and most obvious reason for keeping the Sabbath, because our creator did modeling for us His intended weekly rhythm, we come to the second reason. This one found in Deuteronomy 5:15 says, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” Here we are reminded that honoring Sabbath redeems us, rescues us or releases us from enslavement to work. Just as God redeemed, and brought release to his people who were enslaved to Pharaoh, allowing them to live liberated lives, free from his demands, so too does honoring a weekly Sabbath remind me that I don’t have to work to keep the world running. The truth is that it doesn’t all depend on me and when I rest in Him I am admitting this truth through living action. Today many Christians agree with truth they just don’t reveal it through living action. Why don’t we live out the truth that the world doesn’t revolve around us, because we love to be depended on, it makes us feel needed and fulfills our deepest need to be wanted. Today work has become our way of filling our want need, there are millions of people working to be wanted. The harder we run on this hamster wheel of deceit the deeper our desire to be wanted becomes and the harder we work. The sad truth is that many of us are working for what God has already given, Sabbath is all about being wanted. We have a creator that wants us so much that He has created a margin for us to do nothing but be with Him and be wanted. Sabbath is about being wanted, it is about relational rest. Many of us have trade His provision of Sabbath relational rest to pursue being wanted through work only to feel worn out and empty and our worth becomes wrapped up in our work. When we ignore this we put self at the center of the universe and everyone else takes a back seat to self. Self becomes significant, it becomes about me instead of the Master, no wonder we feel alone and unwanted. Our worth is not found in our work but our Father and Sabbath rest reminds me that I am not a machine. God tells us to honor the Sabbath because he longs for us to be able to have an orientation other than being enslaved by the work place and all our possessions. God’s plan is people not possessions. Today I think in our present culture possessions have become one of the greatest roadblocks to honoring His call to Sabbath rest. Many of our neighbors and many of us are over extended by what we own or said more truthfully what owns us. We have too many possessions to pay off and too many toys to take care of to take time to rest with our Redeemer. We accumulated more in a vain effort to satisfy our need for significance. So we turn to recreation to try and relax, today we have created a culture of recreation not rest. We are kidding ourselves into thinking that if we work harder we can rest through recreation. Recreation today is not about rest but running even harder, it’s working hard so we can play harder. The truth is that our recreation today is not resting its racing. Sabbath is about stopping not just shifting gears to a different activity. Its about being not doing. I’ve come to believe that the very things that we have and aspire to acquire have created a noose around our necks and are actually keep us from living the life God intended for us. Sabbath is part of God’s answer to this. When we honoring The Lord and take a day out to be with Him it helps to re-oriented us away from our consumer culture and toward our Creator. Sabbath was given to create an order to our lives, to give a weekly rhythm to life. It was meant to be a liberating weekly reality yet many of us see it as a restrictive necessity. Sabbath is what carves order out of the chaos, it brings peace into our present. Sabbath quiets the storms of self and circumstance stilling us before our Savior. Our God longs for you to be reminded weekly that He is in control and desires for you to remove yourself from steering of your life, your calendar and your schedule. It is a day of reassurance of His sovereignty in all things. A significant reason for me to honor Sabbath is because Sabbath is rooted in the Exodus, God’s Liberating release of his people from enslavement to work. God redeemed, He rescued and released, taking time and learning to honor Sabbath helps us to not be defined and confined to our work. Sabbath is about trading work for worship, to rest in the presence of our provider. Today we are more apt rush out to work before worship, we have become programmed to think that work worthwhile and resting in worship is a waste. Yet if we go back to the truth we find that the Sabbath was God’s final day of creation, but it was man’s first day of existence. This is significant because it reminds us that man begins his journey with worship before work! Worship is what makes us fit for work, without worship our work has no lasting value, it is only temporal. Nothing we do through work has any eternal significance unless it is done first out of a relationship with an eternal God. We are spiritual beings, and as such what we do must come from a spiritual perspective. Worship frames every aspect of our lives giving significance to everything we do. It allows us to break free from a temporary materialistic framework and experience His eternal one. God desired fellowship with Adam before He sent him into the garden to work it and He desires fellowship with you. Worship is what enables us to “rest” before God, not just a physical rest but also a spiritual one. It is resting in God’s love and cleansing power, resting in His work and resting from trying to save ourselves. The Sabbath is thus a “rest” in God, a time for our soul to be refresh in relationship. So what is Sabbath to you, is it a ritual or rest? What are you resting in?