Once Again, That Sabbath Rest

Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: 2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death. 3 Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” Exodus 35:1-3

Once again the Lord gave clear instructions for the Sabbath. He did it here, here, and here as well. Why the emphasis on resting for a day, to the point that someone could be put to death for working on the Sabbath?

Of course the Lord showed us by example by resting on the seventh day of Creation, but it only partially answers the question.

Recall the Israelites being in Egypt. Some scholars say they had to work on the Sabbath in Egypt, while others make a case that they were allowed to rest. In any event, they worked extremely hard, especially when they had to find the straw to make the bricks. The Sabbath day of rest certainly makes sense in that context.

But I think we’re missing a larger point about Sabbath rest. It’s not only a resting for the physical body, but it allows our minds and spirits to rest as well. We worry and fret and get caught up with the moment that we forget to rest. That’s right. We go and go and go, and do it all the next day followed by the next and the next. Before we know it a month has gone by. Sure we went to church during that but our minds were still elsewhere thinking, planning, and ultimately not resting.

Shabbat is the Hebrew verb for “to cease.” We need to stop what we’re doing and rest, just rest. It was imperative for the Hebrews back in the day, and some were put to death for not resting.

Yes, we are totally under grace, but it doesn’t mean the point of resting has, well, ceased. It’s still as valid as ever.

Rest, just rest.

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