Summary: God models for us and charges us with living a life of balance - one that includes a practice of Sabbath Rest.
From the Very Start
You Need Some Rest!
We are in a Genesis series – An ancient text that speaks with amazing present-day relevance!
- Marriage - Struggles in Marriage - Spiritual Jealousy
- Selfishness - Trusting God when it really doesn’t make sense
- Obeying God when everything inside of you refuses
- Facing My Past - Encountering God in the least expected places
Let’s open our Bibles to where we left off last week. We read the closing verses of Genesis chapter 1. Pick up with me in chapter two.
“On the seventh day, having finished his task, God rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from his work of creation.” Genesis 2: 2-3
- Note this was the seventh day. I’ve read a lot of confusion about when the Sabbath was and is. In Genesis 2, the Sabbath is the seventh day of the creation week. In the Jewish practice it was day 7. In our calendar, the seventh day is Saturday.
- Also, God rested this day – that is, ceased activity. We’re not talking about sleep here, we’re talking about an abstaining from work – a ceasing – a rest. Think of music. When you see a rest in the musical score, you cease playing or singing for a certain amount of time. The song, the piece goes on, you just still yourself for a second.
Can you quote for me the fourth commandment? Let’s see, I should know the commandments. There’s “No other God’s before Me,” “No graven images,” “Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain…” Is number four “Don’t kill,” “don’t covet,” or no sneaking candy into the movies?
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work.” Ex. 20: 8-9
From the same Biblical text that demands no murder, no stealing, no affairs… we’re told to take a Sabbath. We sure want to recapture those ten commandments, yet we manage to forget about this one, don’t we?
Seventh day rest is the crown of creation, the fulfillment of God’s creative activity and the model for human life in this abundant world. Sabbath, the untroubled leisure of a sovereign ruler secure in power, is the royal birthright of every human being created in God’s image.
I’ve read and heard many people confuse Sabbath rest and the call to family worship. They’re not one and the same. Sabbath is God’s work, not dictating my worship routine, but work ethic. Sunday is not a commanded day of Sabbath. We don’t have our church-wide worship service on Sunday to honor the Sabbath, we do it honor of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week.
And somehow as industrious 21st century Americans we’ve managed to confuse rest and laziness or rest and playfulness. We’ve always got to be doing something. We evaluate every activity by how much we ‘got done.’ So we hear the word Sabbath and assume its an outdated principle just interfering or demeaning a healthy work ethic.
Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Sabbath doesn’t depreciate the value of work or undermine the call to a true work ethic. In fact, Sabbath does the exact opposite.
Sabbath is how God brings health to my work habits.
“The Sabbath was made to benefit people… And I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath!” Mark 2: 27-28
Sabbath is for our benefit. God knows our tendency is going to be to over-commit ourselves, overextend our capabilities, outreach our strength and to go way too far. Before long we put ourselves into a lifestyle or pattern of work that leaves always working, never resting. We end up physically tired, emotionally exhausted and spiritually fatigued.
And that is not a good condition is it? How differently do treat your family when you’re worn out? How well do you treat your employees when you’re exhausted? How easily do you given to temptation when you’re beat? If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you’re not nearly as bright as you think you.
Is it just me, or are we a busy people? For all of our new inventions, all our time-saving tools and toys, for all our shortcuts and overnight deliveries and quick fix solutions and microwave ovens and fast food restaurants we are always in a hurry and almost always running out of time!
We live in a 24/7 culture. We wear cell phones to stay accessible 24/7, we do business over the Internet so we can shop, and organize our lives and make decisions 24/7. We hit the drive-thru window at Wendy’s at midnight and then go to Supermarket at three in the morning.