Learning from the Sabbath
Text: Exodus 20:8-11

The Sabbath day was given as a day of rest each week. Christians are not under the Sabbath law today, but it was part of the Old Testament that was written for our learning (Romans 15:4). What principles do we find in the Sabbath law that we need to take and apply today?

Remember Your Creator

When we talk about the Sabbath, we usually think of REST [we will discuss this later] – yet the PRIMARY reason for the Sabbath law was for them to remember God
The law was patterned after God’s work in creation (Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1:31-2:3) – they were not just to REST, they were to remember God and His work
The Bible begins with God creating the universe (Genesis 1:1) – the creation proves that God is not an invention of man (Psalm 100:3); it shows what a privilege it is for God to care for us (Psalm 8:3-4); and it shows that God’s love and favor actually matter (1 John 4:8; Jonah 4:2) more than man’s (Proverbs 29:26)

Do Not Conform to the World

They were to remember the Sabbath day and keep it HOLY (Exodus 20:8) – they were to do this as God’s own special, HOLY people (Deuteronomy 7:6); this set them apart since no other nation observed the Sabbath like the Israelites did
Today, we as Christians are God’s special people (1 Peter 2:9) – be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16); this means we are to be different from the world (1 Peter 2:11; Romans 12:1)
We are to stand out from the world (1 Peter 2:12) – the world scoffs at the gospel and obedience to God’s will (1 Corinthians 1:18; 15:32); we must be willing to be different and believe and obey the gospel anyway (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

Plan Ahead in Your Labors

The Sabbath law required them to plan ahead in order to rest on the seventh day (Exodus 16:5, 22-30) – after they reached the promised land, this would apply to their regular labors/responsibilities
This shows the importance of planning our labors (Proverbs 21:5) – requires a willingness to work hard, often for long hours (Ecclesiastes 9:11; 11:6)
This helps keep our necessary labors from unnecessarily infringing upon spiritual activities – we are to put spiritual things FIRST (Matthew 6:33); do not let work crowd out God (Luke 12:16-21); sometimes conflicts arise that are out of our control; but many times, we just convince ourselves that they’re out of our control

Make Time for Rest

They were to observe the Sabbath each week (Leviticus 23:2-3) – this was EVERY Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36); even during busier seasons, they were to do this (Exodus 34:21)
God created us (Genesis 1:26-27) and knows we need rest – He rested (Genesis 2:2); not because He needs to rest (Isaiah 40:28), but to set an example for us because WE need rest; work is tiring physically (Ecclesiastes 4:6), mentally (Ecclesiastes 12:12), and sometimes emotionally (Exodus 18:13-18)
Work is never done (Ecclesiastes 2:23) – therefore, we must intentionally take time to rest (Ecclesiastes 2:24; Mark 6:31)

Work Precedes Rest

When God made the Sabbath law, He made the day of rest at the END of the week (Exodus 20:9-10) – again, this was what God did in the creation week (Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1:31-2:3)
In our physical labors, we must work before we take time to rest (Proverbs 6:6-8; 20:4) – resting first is a sign of laziness (Proverbs 26:14)
Also in our spiritual labors, we must work for the Lord before we receive the promised rest (Revelation 14:13) – labor diligently for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58); be DILIGENT to enter REST (Hebrews 4:11)


We are not under obligation to observe the Sabbath law today – but there are important lessons in it
Let us remember our Creator, be different from the world, and labor diligently in order to receive the promised rest

By Andy Sochor

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