Exodus 20: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Rest…a commandment given, but not often followed in today’s culture. For me, I tend not to rest because I always have so much to do, but I heard a sermon Sunday that challenged me to rethink rest on Sunday.
I felt convicted, not because I wasn’t following the rule of the law, but because I didn’t really grasp the reason for rest. So after the sermon, I was intentional about resting, changing my perspective and trusting God to redeem my time.
My pastor talked about rest in the context of self-sufficiency. Our inability to rest is often motivated by our self-sufficiency. If we don’t keep working, the work won’t get done. It all depends on us.Yes, we must be diligent in all we do, but even God rested on the seventh day from His work of creation.
Rest is more than an Old Testament law difficult to follow. It points to something spiritual.
We rest because we believe God is working for us, or in the case of salvation, the work is already done. Rest points to the work of Jesus. Jesus, our warrior King, has already won the battle and provides us rest in Him. He goes before us, He leads us, He provides and gives us rest.
The pastor went on to explain how the day of rest shifted from the Sabbath to Sunday because of Jesus. Jesus took our sin to the cross and gave us freedom from sin and eternal life.
“Thank you oh my father, For giving us your son,
And leaving your spirit, ’til the work on earth is done” (Keith Green).
Rest begins on our first day of the week, rather than the last as was the case in the Old Testament. Jesus represents the new beginning. He was raised from the dead on a Sunday and so we begin our week with worship and resting in Him. The first thing we do in the week is to worship Him because the work is already done. We rest in Him, completely depending on Him, knowing that He works on our behalf. I can rest knowing that my life is directed, led and in the hands of my Savior. It is not all about me!
The sermon changed my perspective. Rather than wondering what I should or should not do on the day of rest in order to keep the commandment, I realized that Sunday, the beginning of my week, is my day to rest and worship God in all I do. I don’t work my way to God, He has already completed the work for me.
Rest is a spiritual act. It declares the glory of God, His powerful sacrifice on our behalf and His Son who goes before us each day, working all things for our good.
Can you rest in that truth?
The pastor ended the sermon with a challenge, “Think of ways you can worship God on the day of rest.” Rather than trying to keep some legalistic law, worship!
Rest is an act of worship!