Exodus 20 v 8 … On it, you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien that is within your gates.
On first reading, this sounds like a bit of overkill to get people to rest. But this command is not ultimately about simply “not doing any work”. It is a command that fits in with the pattern God himself introduced for his purpose in creation. When God made the universe He was looking beyond it to an ultimate goal – a new world filled with Holy enjoyment – an eternal rest where all the burdens of human living would be cast away forever. This wonderful eternal rest is what He wanted to share with His creatures.
So the establishment of a Sabbath day was meant to be a shadow of things to come – the reality, the true rest of soul we all need is found in Christ (Colossians 2:16,17).
We Christians distinguish between the old order of the Sabbath which was in existence before Christ came, and the Lord’s Day which commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus and has superseded the Sabbath of the Old Testament.
The Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest and worship to Old Testament Israel. It is not less than that for us today who live in the light of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ. But it does mean more too as we shall see.
However, it seems that some Christians in their desire to prove they are not under law have so dispensed with the Sabbath that it means almost nothing to them. They are inconsistent at worship services, and a day when they could do a great deal of good for needy people, is often spent in recreational activities that have little reference to Christ. Are you one of them?
Prayer: O God. You have shown your grace to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our ultimate Sabbath rest. Please help us to honour Him in the way we conduct our lives. Amen