Nothing we do is done by our own power. God gave us the Sabbath to show us he is our provider. And, as Charles Spurgeon said, “God gave us sleep to remind us we are not him.” Before you drift into unconsciousness tonight, be conscious that rest is more important than doing one last thing, that God is your sustainer, and that he is trustworthy.
Honoring the Sabbath is an easy commandment to break. We diminish it to the hour or two we’re at church on Sunday morning and an afternoon nap. We justify ourselves by saying a 24-hour Sabbath is part of the old covenant and unrealistic in modern times. Taking a day off feels lazy, but that’s because we practice it wrong. If we were to rest in line with God’s created purpose, we would see it as a gift he made specifically for us (Mk. 2:27).
Despite the fact that God commanded us to honor the Sabbath should be persuasion enough, there are a few notable reasons practicing Sabbath is good for us:
We reflect God’s image by remembering that he, too, rested on the seventh day of creation.
Sabbath rejuvenates us and our work.
Most of all, Sabbath reminds us that we are not our own providers.
In modern times, the idea of Sabbath—that is, abstaining from what we consider our job—seems foreign, but it would have seemed just as strange to the Israelites. When the Israelites wandered in the desert, God sent enough manna and quail to feed them each day; they literally had to go out and pick up their daily bread. On Fridays, he sent a double portion to feed them on Sabbath, too. In this, he showed himself to be trustworthy to give them what they needed, even on days they didn’t work for it. We have the same God and thus the same confidence.
Even when we aren’t doing something to justify our paycheck, God is our provider. Six days of productivity is well sufficient to cover our expenses on the seventh day—that was God’s design. In fact, God’s design includes a reminder that we trust God with a portion of our lives each day, whether we realize it or not.
Like the Sabbath, to exalt our nightly rest above busyness is counter-cultural.