“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labour 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 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. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.“
What is the point of this command for the nation of Israel? And how does this help us love God?
It’s interesting to see how this command was being interpreted by the teachers of the law when Jesus arrives on the scene in the 1st Century AD. For some reason the sabbath had become a burden for the people, as if people were made for the sabbath and not the sabbath made for people… But Jesus corrects that view and he explains the sabbath as it should’ve always been read. Jesus says “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27).
One of the great dangers for people is complacency… In fact, in Deuteronomy 6:10-13, God warns the people against complacency in the land the land that they are entering:
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you-a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name“
How are God’s people going to guard themselves against complacency? How can the Christian avoid forgetting God when times are good? The sabbath is God’s answer. Set aside time to “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.” That’s why the LORD has commanded to keep the sabbath. So that when life gets busy, and we get comfortable, and we start to feel independent from God, and we have no problems we need God to fix, then we take time out to remember that we were slaves to sin and that the LORD your God brought you out of that slavery with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In the national life of Israel, society was to take one day a week to stop what they were doing and remember that everything they have was given to them by God’s grace and that the world does not revolve around them. For Christians it may not be certain day of the week, but we still need a sabbath. we still need to take time out to remember that we have not made ourselves, we have not saved ourselves, we are not the centre of the world… We are God’s people. All we have is given by him. When we stop working we are exercising our faith in God. We are trusting him to look after us when we’re not working.
The sabbath is our great reminder of God’s grace.
- Are you taking time out in your week to remember God’s saving grace?
- How do you remember God’s saving grace?
- How are you being continually thankful for God’s grace?