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  • East Martin CRC

Rest Dedicated to God

Exodus 20:8-11

Mark 2:27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Yesterday we looked at the first three commandments and talked about what it means to our worship life when we have God in His rightful place. Today we begin seeing the various ways that plays out in life and how we can live a life of worship in situations that arise in life.

So what is a Sabbath? The meaning in the original Hebrew (Shabbat) is to rest from labor. God commanded in the Law that this day be kept holy – set apart. Different generations and cultures have observed a day of Sabbath in various ways. Even sects of Satanists have observations with the same name. But what did God intend it to be when He put it in the Law?

By Jesus’ time the Jews had taken the Sabbath and made it more of a chore than a day of rest. They had so many rules about what you could and couldn’t do that the focus was on the day instead of its intended purpose. The Law, as it was given to Moses, says that the day of rest is to be dedicated to the Lord and that is why Jesus said what He did in our key verse for the day. How can a day be dedicated to the Lord if our focus isn’t on Him during that day? The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had come to focus so much on the rest portion of the command that they no longer knew why they were to rest.

Rest can mean different things to different people and one of the dangers of focusing on the rest part instead of the portion about being dedicated to the Lord is that we will start looking at what others are doing on the day and judging them based on our views of what is appropriate, just like the Pharisees did with Jesus and His disciples.

What does it look like to dedicate a day to the Lord? Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for the man instead of the other way around. Jesus was trying to help His listeners to understand that it wasn’t in the doing or not doing that the day was observed, it was in the knowing that God made a day for us to do what He did on the very first 7th day, rest and think about what He had done. Resting in the knowledge of Him and what He has done is a resetting of our hearts and minds to their default mode – to be in tune with our God and creator. That is what true worship is about, right?

Making It Personal

What would your worship on Sunday look like if you saw it through the lens of focusing on God instead of on self? Have you ever taken a Sunday afternoon and rested in the knowledge of who God is and what He has done since the beginning of time, including in your very own life? What is one thing that you can praise Him for today?

Making It Personal Kids

What do you think about when you hear the word rest? What are some things that are different about Sunday than the other days of the week? Why do you think they are different?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for a day that is set aside for resting in who You are. Thank You for making a way that we can hit the reset button and refocus our eyes on You. Please help us learn to love this special day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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