Today, we kick off a brand new series titled Beach Days. Beach days remind us of gathering with friends and family, relaxing, soaking in the sun, and generally doing nothing.
Summer is in full swing, and it is time to hit pause on our busyness and recharge.
For some, it may be a family vacation in an RV like my friend Hollie or sitting by the pool enjoying a good book, or maybe going on a hike through a beautiful national park.
Summertime, also, reminds us that we are halfway through the year, and now is a good time to hit pause and recharge. This series is about hitting pause for a few moments and drinking in some relaxation.
This week, I want to bring us back to the Old Testament, and a reminder that Sabbath rest is important. In Exodus 20:8-11, it says,
“Remember to keep the Sabbath holy. Work and get everything done during six days each week, but the seventh day is a day of rest to honor the Lord your God…The reason is that in six days the Lord made everything—the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. On the seventh day he rested. So the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”1
Where Did Sabbath Rest Originate?
During the creation event, God created the heavens and the earth in six days and six nights. Genesis 2:2-3 says,
“By the seventh day God finished the work he had been doing, so he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it a holy day, because on that day he rested from all the work he had done in creating the world.”2
We further see, in the Old Testament (Exodus 20), it was a command to work only six days and then take one day off completely. There would be no work of any kind.
In the New Testament, the religious leaders used a strict, narrow interpretation of the command – you couldn't even untie your oxen lest it be deemed work.
In the Old Testament, when the Lord was providing food for the Israelites after they left Egypt, the instructions were clear from the Lord. You will have a daily amount for days one to five. On the sixth day, you will gather two portions of food because none will be provided on the seventh day as that was the Sabbath3.
The daily portions would expire so-to-speak so they could not hoard the food. For the double portion, it would not expire or go bad until the third day – it was protected and carried them through the Sabbath.4
Today, we see Orthodox Jews observing the Sabbath by walking to the temple or with friends instead of driving.
Jesus Flipped the Script
While Jesus walked the earth, He observed the Sabbath, but He also took the opportunity to show people and the religious leadership, that Sabbath rest did not have to be such a narrow interpretation.5
Many of Jesus' miracles were performed on the Sabbath.6 He released people from the demons that bound them. He gave sight to the blind and commanded people to walk. He did many of these things on the Sabbath – a direct contrast to Old Testament teaching.
Jesus was the new covenant in the flesh, while the religious leaders held tightly to the old covenant.
Finding Your Sabbath Rest
In six days and nights, the Lord created the heavens and earth and everything in it, and then He rested. The Lord created rest and then modeled rest.
He did not need to rest. He is God. He does not get tired.
He created rest for His creation.
Deuteronomy 5:13-14a says,
“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.7
The Lord thought we needed to hear, and understand the concept of Sabbath rest more than once. He highlights it in:
- Genesis: the creation account
- Exodus: the Ten Commandments
- Deuteronomy: a reminder of the Ten Commandments
- Gospels: comparison between the old covenant & new covenant
The Purpose of Sabbath Rest
God created work, and before the Fall of Man, it was pure and purposeful. After the fall of Man, work became hard – it was part of the punishment the Lord gave him.8
Work and life have purpose and meaning; however, our Creator does not expect us to work or do things full out seven days a week.
Sabbath rest is important. We need time to refuel and recharge. When we don’t take time to recharge and rejuvenate, we risk burning ourselves up and hurting those closest to us.
Over the past couple of years, I have been burdened with understanding how stress affects the workplace and the church.
The simple conclusion is rest.
Rest provides rejuvenation for the soul and our physical bodies. When we rest, we recover. Each week we need to hit the pause button and rest.
Rest is vital for preparing us for the week ahead. Most people take a rest on Sunday; however, depending on your work schedule, any day could be your Sabbath rest.
This week, I encourage you to hit the pause button and rest. Your body will thank you, and your soul will relish it.
Lord, thanks for the beauty of another day. Please help me to take time to rest, reflect, and be restored this week and in the coming weeks so I may experience all the best you have for me. Thank you for creating rest. Amen!
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- Exodus 20:8-11 ↩︎
- Genesis 2:2-3 ↩︎
- Exodus 16 ↩︎
- Exodus 16:26-27 ↩︎
- Luke 13:14-17 // Luke 14 ↩︎
- Luke 13:10-13 ↩︎
- Deuteronomy 5:13-14a ↩︎
- Genesis 3:17-19 ↩︎
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