February 6 I Sunday
“For somewhere He has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all His works.’” —Hebrews 4:4
What was the Sabbath rest meant to be? In Genesis 1 and 2, we read about the Sabbath in creation. We are given the account where God created the sun, the moon, land, plants, animal life and humans in six days. Then on the seventh day, He rested. God did not rest because He was tired, but He rested because He was finished. It is crucial to note that mankind’s first full day in the created order was resting with God in His finished work.
The next real movement pertaining to the Sabbath is in the book of Exodus, where we read about Sabbath in God’s liberation. God’s covenant people were in bondage to Pharaoh, and God sent Moses as the deliverer. The Israelites were brought out of their bondage in Egypt and provided with bread from heaven. At the giving of the Ten Commandments, God said, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God....Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11). The Sabbath was a day for the Israelites to do no work; it was a day for them to remember and reflect on the first command, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3). The Israelites did nothing to contribute to their salvation from Pharaoh. It was a complete work of God; they simply rested in His provision of salvation.
The Sabbath was good, meant to save life and give life. When we look at both the creation and liberation accounts of Genesis and Exodus, a pattern emerges: the Sabbath is our being invited to God’s finished work. In the New Testament, Jesus used this to point to the true purpose of Sabbath—the Sabbath was designed for man to rest in God’s finished work. Just as man’s first day on earth was to rest in God’s finished work of creation, the Sabbath rest of God is about us resting in Christ’s finished work of salvation.
Hebrews 4:3 tells us, “Now we who have believed enter that rest…” When we put our faith in Christ, we enter into His finished work on our behalf. Hebrews 4:10-11 continues, “...for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest....” The Sabbath rest of God is us being welcomed into resting in His finished work.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank You for the Sabbath rest that You offer. My faith rests upon Christ and His finished work on my behalf. Praise You!