Summary: The Sabbath Day commandment pointed to the One who would give us "spiritual rest" (Figure can be viewed at www.ingodsimage.site)
[IN GOD’S IMAGE 19 – THE SABBATH SIGN]
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
We have been focusing on the sign aspect of the Mosaic Covenant, which was the Sabbath day.
• Last time we discussed the fact the Sabbath was a command given to the Israelites as a test of their allegiance in the same way God tested Adam and Eve not to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.
• We need to look at the sign of the Mosaic Covenant in the same light, as it was a sign that pointed backwards as well as forwards.
• The Sabbath day sign, although a test of allegiance for the children of Israel, pointed to something much more significant.
• It was never God’s intention for the sign to become the object of worship. Rather it was to direct peoples’ worship to what the sign pointed to.
• We learnt it was a sign that pointed both backwards as well as forwards.
• Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,10 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 male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.11 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.
• It pointed backwards in that the day was to remind them to remember God their Creator (v.11).
• One day each week was set aside to worship their Creator and the God who had redeemed them from Egypt.
• So in this respect it pointed backwards to God’s creative and redeeming work.
But the Sabbath sign had a future significance as well and it revolved around three key words also found in this section of scripture.
• They are, “remember”, “work” and “rested.”
• Let’s look at these words to understand why they are important.
• In Bible usage, the word “rest” is contrasted with “work.”
• This is how the Bible starts out, God working – creating the physical order.
• Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
• For six days God worked, then He rested and hallowed the seventh day.
• What did this rest signify? Did God need a rest; was He worn out from all His work?
• No! God could sit back and look at His handiwork, the beautiful aspects of his creative genius, but most importantly He enjoyed perfect communion with his most important handiwork, the man He had created in his image.
• There were no rituals, no ceremonies, no religion – just a simple loving relationship between God and the humans he had created.
• This is important to understand because a correct understanding of what “rest” means to God determines to a large extent what follows.
• “Then on the eighth day, God went back to work”
• No, it doesn’t say that.
• How long did this rest last? We don’t know, but what we do know is something interrupted that blissful period of “rest” where God and man enjoyed an intimate loving relationship.
• What interrupted this rest? Man exercised his freewill and disobeyed God.
• So what was God’s response to the disruption of this relationship? He had to start working again to restore the broken relationship He had with His creation.