What about investing in a ‘summer Sabbath’? Part 2: Redemption
Following the first instalment looking at the origins of the Sabbath at creation, Simon continues with our mini-series on Sabbath rest.
Sabbath reminds us of our redemption
Now here I need to apologise because I rather lazily used the word ‘Sabbath’ without proper explanation in the previous post. The word appears in Exodus 20:8-11 as one of the famous Ten Commandments. Commandment No. 4 makes explicit the fact that the seventh day is to be holy and not be used for work. It is worth noting the all-encompassing scope of the command – the Sabbath is for all members of the household, young and old, family members and slaves, male and female, and also includes animals (!), and those who are foreigners and not part of God’s people. It turns out that the principles laid out in creation cut across every dividing line in humanity!
The rationale given by God for this Sabbath-rest commandment is , ‘For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day’ (v11). He set us, as in so many ways, the supreme example.
A covenant relationship
Let’s take a step back for a moment. One thing which is interesting about the Ten Commandments is that this is what is expected of the people of God in response to His redemption of them. The Ten Commandments were given as a summary of the covenant law for God’s people. We can easily view these as a set of regulations to be obeyed. But actually God is establishing a covenant relationship here in the desert of Mount Sinai. This relationship flows out of His rescue of the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. He rescued them first. He lavished His love and grace on them before they had done anything. Keeping the law was simply their response to His salvation!
Slavery in Egypt contained no Sabbath rest for the Israelites. But in Commandment NO. 4, God is saying that freedom in God will begin with rest! Unmerited rest. Unearned rest. Gracious rest. Regular rest. Rest based solely on the goodness of God and as a permanent reminder that the people have been redeemed to linger in His presence.
The setting aside of a Sabbath is a mark of being saved. Our Sabbath resting should remind us of God’s grace towards us. We don’t need to earn His favour. We have been redeemed, saved and adopted and we can enjoy our rest in Him.
Pause for thought:
Read Exodus 19:1-19 and notice God’s saving acts and the response of the people. The giving of the Ten Commandments follows in chapter 20.
1. We saw the grace of unearned Sabbath for Adam and Eve and now we see the grace of unearned Sabbath as part of the freedom God rescued the Israelites for. Taking time to rest would automatically take the Israelites back to thinking about creation but also about their redemption and rescue from slavery. Spend some time thanking God for your salvation.
2. Spend some time considering the fact that Sabbath rest is part of a free life. How free are you in this area of resting and how can you walk into greater freedom?
Part 3 will be published on Wednesday