Remember the Sabbath Day by Keeping it Holy
By Betsy de Cruz
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)
Do you ever start your week on Monday even more tired than you were the Friday before? Many of us dread Mondays not only because it’s hard to get back into the swing of work after a break, but also because we exhaust ourselves all weekend long.
God must have known our “Do It All” tendency when He chose to rest.
Something tells me the Glorious Almighty God didn’t need to rest. But He knew we would. So he set a pattern from the beginning of creation: six days of work, followed by a day of rest. He blessed this day and made it holy. Later in Exodus 20:8-11, he made this pattern into a command:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
The word “Sabbath” is related to a Hebrew root that means “cease” or “stop.” God commanded His people to cease from their labor, so they could rest, refresh, and refuel. He had set His people free from slavery in Egypt. As children of God, they were no longer bound to work non-stop like slaves. God gave them the gift of rest, a day to cease from working and to honor Him. In the Old Testament, Jews followed the pattern of setting apart the seventh day to keep it holy.
Most Bible scholars agree that today God also desires to give his children that same gift of rest, and Christians all around the world now observe the first day of the week, Sunday, as a day to honor God. There’s no biblical basis for changing it from the seventh day to the first, but scholars cite the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day as a possible reason for this change observed in the New Testament.
Since God included the Sabbath in the 10 Commandments, He must have thought it was important. Of course today we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not by following commandments. However, as people who want to honor and obey God, we still accept these 10 commands as a guide for how God wants us to live.
When we set aside Sundays for rest and worship, we follow the healthy rhythm God established for us, and we can start a new week on Monday refreshed instead of exhausted. If your job requires you to work on Sunday, ask the Lord for creativity and discipline to set aside another Sabbath time during your week. Whether our Sabbath is Sunday or another day, we can trust God to bless our time of rest and make us effective when we return work.
Editor’s Note: The following was adapted from What is the Sabbath and is It Still Important Today?by Betsy de Cruz. To read the full article, follow this link.