The Bible states in Genesis that God started with nothing and created everything in six days. In Genesis 2:1-3 the Creator finally rests on the seventh day from all the work that was done and in verse 3 we read:
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all the work which God had created and made. (NASB)
Day 7 of our Bible Study is about becoming a stronger Christian through resting and how God gave humanity a day of rest because we need it. God believes we are to work for six days and rest on day seven … just like He did when He created our world. As it says in Exodus 20:11 ~
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the 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.
We see two main characteristics of the seventh day in both of these passages, in Genesis the Lord blessed and sanctified (set apart) the seventh day and in Exodus He blessed it and made it holy.
The trouble is, growing up we watch our parents strive to make a better home for us than their parents did for them. Culture dictates that we work work work and frowns upon needed rest unless you take a week-long vacation which you earned through all that work. Suddenly someone who doesn’t work like a maniac is labeled a “B” personality to the “A” personality who hasn’t yet figured out how to attempt a balance.
As we grow up and move out on our own, we join society and begin to match the pace of everyone around us. Work hard, struggle, and strive for success. In fact, I think one of the hardest things a human can do is purposefully take an entire day for rest; but it is so important to God that He made it a commandment. And it’s not a commandment made for God – He made it for us. In the New Testament we find Jesus saying:
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. ~ Mark 2:27
Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word shabbath (pronounced shah BAT) related to the verb shavath which means cease, rest. God actually mentions it before giving the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus 31) when He provides manna to the Israelites (Exodus 16) and instructs them to gather two days’ worth on the sixth day so they can rest on the seventh.
Now that we remember it’s actually one of the Ten Commandments, can we be so easily disobedient? Ignoring this commandment is another way to slip into the habits of the world rather than putting God first in our lives and obeying Him.
How, then, can we give ourselves the true gift of a day of rest each week (if we don’t already)? We must remember that as a community of believers, we are set apart as holy for God. I like when David Arthur says, “It takes faith to receive that gift. It takes a firm belief in God as our ultimate provider to take a day off from work.”
We can take care of ourselves by allowing God to take care of us.
Lastly, in the take away, David promises the reader three things if we establish a day of rest for the Lord and ourselves:
- In rest you will find that you grow in trusting God.
- In rest you will find that you grow in following God and not your own agenda.
- In rest you will find that you grow in strength, and this, my friend, pleases your heavenly Father.
I can’t agree more. When I take a day of rest for my physical body, my mind, and my soul, I am in His care. I spend the day in various positions of worship and praise, community with other believers, reading His Word or other books that will help me get to know Him better, or even if I’m horizontal and taking a nap; I can honestly sense the Lord’s pleasure in my obedience.
Why don’t you join me this week in making this commandment one to easily obey?