Monday: The Rich Meaning of Sabbath Rest

Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15.

Image © Lars Justinen from

Image © Lars Justinen from

How does the emphasis of the Sabbath commandment here differ from Exodus 20:8-11?

Here Moses reminds the Israelites that they should keep the Sabbath, and he states that they should do this because God delivered them from Egypt. The texts say nothing about the six days of Creation or about the Sabbath being God’s rest. Instead, the emphasis here is on Salvation, on deliverance, on Redemption, in this case the redemption from Egypt, a symbol of the true Redemption we have in Jesus (see 1 Cor. 10:1-3).

In other words, there is no conflict between the texts, no justification for trying to use one passage to deny the truth of the other. Moses was showing the people that they belong to the Lord, first by Creation, and then by redemption.

Read Ezekiel 20:12 and Exodus 31:13. What is another reason for observing the Sabbath?

The passages that mention sanctification remind us that only God can make us holy. Only the Creator can create a new heart within us.

Consider, then, three reasons given for Sabbath observance and how they are related. We observe the Sabbath on the seventh day in recognition of the fact that God created in six days and rested on the seventh. We also observe the Sabbath on the seventh day because God is the one who redeemed us, saved us in Christ. And also He is the One who sanctifies us, which comes only from the creative power of God, as well (see Ps. 51:102 Cor. 5:17).

Theories, therefore, that deny the six-day Creation tend to diminish God’s grace and magnify the value of our own efforts to be good enough to be saved. The Creation story reminds us of our total dependence on grace and the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ in our place.

Dwell on the fact that we are as dependent upon God for Redemption as we are for existence (after all, how much say did you have in your own birth?). How can the Sabbath help us to better understand our absolute need of God’s grace for everything in our lives? How should this knowledge impact the way in which we live?



Monday: The Rich Meaning of Sabbath Rest — 12 Comments

  1. I feel my need for God to create in me His life, love and goodness every week. By Sabbath, in my body's weak and tired state I see my need and dependence on God. I see that I need a savior and creator. I am thankful for Jesus and the work He has done and is doing. Sabbath gives me that chance to sit and appreciate, worship and thank Him.

  2. Sabbath is a day to be respected. A day to reconnect with the Creator. One is tempted to say when God rested on this day, He wanted to look at His own creations, especially man. He had created man in an image of His and bestowed upon him the stewardship over all other creatures. Sabbath therefore to me was reserved for the purpose of worshipping and praising God;to account to God as to the progress and problems we experience as stewards so that the Lord should give us strenghth and faith upon us

  3. The sabbath is a sign between we and God as given to the Israelites in DEUT 5v12-15.God used the sabbath observance as a sign.During the era of the Israelites God told them anyone who trample upon the sabbath day shall be put to death.What shall happen to ur days if we do not observe the sabbath and do not keep it holy?The BIBLE makes it clear to us that We shall be punished i e we shall go to hell.

    • What motivates us to keep God's Sabbath? The fear of eternal death (hell) or the joy of knowing that our Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier gave us this special gift out of His great love for us? The pharasees chose the former. I choose God's love.

    • you are correct in that the sabbath is a sign between us and God, that we belong to Him and He is the one who makes us holy; it is also a rememberance of our redemption as well as a rememberance of His work of creation. Exodus 31:12-17 is pretty clear that profaning the sabbath by working that day was punishable by death. But I find that the bible is also very clear about what we must do to receive salvation - Ephesians 2:8, John 1:12,13, John 3:16, Rom.110:9-13 to name a few. We are saved by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to pay the price for our sin, and only faith as it is a gift. Not by works lest any man should boast. I haven't yet found any scriptures stating that we are saved from hell by observing the sabbath, or sent there by not observing it. If one were to read all the laws given to the Israelites, there are other laws that if they are broken, are also punishable by death. Gen. 9:6, Ex. 21:12-16,29, Lev. 20:10, Deut. 13:6-11. But then we see in Rom.8:1-4 that those who are in Christ Jesus are not condemned but free from the law of sin and death. We all fail sometimes, and God does not distinguish between sins, sin is sin no matter which law we are breaking, and separates us from God. But through Jesus we are forgiven and declared righteous when we confess - 1John 1:8,9 We are cleansed from ALL unrighteousness, not a select few things. So I was wondering if you could point out which scriptures state that we will go to hell for not observing the sabbath.

  4. "Theories,... Christ in our place." Please i do not understand this last statement or how the long ages postulated by theistic evolution magnifies works. Can someone please explain? Thank you.

  5. Michael, in my opinion the lesson author gave adequate explanation for what he said. The Sabbath command points to the creation by God (we weren't involved) and to the Deuteronomy text that looks at it from the restorative point of view which we also have no power to do anything about. Therefore the Sabbath command refers to things that God alone does - not us and because of that they must be accepted on the grounds of faith without any works on our part.

    The theories that man has devised does away with God because science as now taught has no room for any philosophical consideration of an external intelligence in the universe. Therefore, evolution in its various forms excludes any action by God and as already stated in other lessons this quarter theistic evolution, in particular, does a lot of damage to the character of God. By excluding God evolution makes man his own savior which is the only hope they have left. That is what works is all about and that is why belief in what the Sabbath refers to is essential for the Christian faith.

  6. Arising from the command we are given to keep the Sabbath Holy from Ex 20:8-11,I have a qustion which I need assisstance.
    The commands prohibits anyone to do any work, servants inclusive. Some peole who stay in the villges and have alot of cattle have employed servants to look after these animals, even those who do have servants, are they supposed to take out animals for grazing on the Sabbath? If they take them out, are they not working?

  7. You are right! Only Christ can save us, not when we keep the Sabbath or not. However, we keep the Sabbath because we develop a love relationship with Christ for saving us. As a result, we do what He asks us to not because we want to be saved but because we love Him.
    Watch out the enemy would like you to believe you are only saved through Christ, it is not too important to keep the Sabbath (works).
    That is a subtle way of making you disregard the Sabbtath.
    The HS will shed more light on the truth for you as long as you stay
    faithful and are willing to listen to His voice.
    Stay blessed!!!1

  8. God has given men six days wherein to labor, and He requires that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is to be strictly avoided. "Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and . . . honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure." Isaiah 58:13. Nor does the prohibition end here. "Nor speaking thine own words," says the prophet. Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character.

  9. In the beginning when God created everything that we have and enjoy in the this life, He created each day specifically so we may have the pleasure of admiring His work and give praises to Him which is all he wants from us in return. The Sabbath Day was indeed added onto the days of creation on purpose. This is the day of the week He asked us to communicate with Him spiritually. In this communion our inner strength is provided by Him for our journey in the week ahead. This communion we individually search Him through praises, praying, reading His word and sharing with someone the marvelous God we have. The blessings of the Sabbath Day is marked by Jesus words in which he told "If you tell another about my name, I too will tell My Father in Heaven your name".


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