God created people to live in a rhythm of working and resting. After creating the world, God looked around and saw that “it was very good!” (Gen 1:31). God did not just cease from his labor; he stopped and enjoyed what he had made. The idea behind Sabbath is to experience joy in what God has done.
==> Does the word “Sabbath” conjure up images of rest or joy in your mind? What images does Sabbath bring to your mind?
Right from the beginning of the Bible story it seems that a pattern of not only daily work and rest but also weekly work and rest is laid down.
Read Genesis 1:26-2:3.
An interesting fact about these verses is that the first thing in all of creation that is made holy is not a person or even an object. Rather, it is a day. Genesis does not say why God makes the seventh day holy, merely that God does make it holy.
==> In your mind, what makes a day holy? Do you have other days that you celebrate as holy (birthdays, anniversaries, etc?) What does a holy day look like to you?
Read Exodus 20:8-11
The first part of God’s command regarding the Sabbath calls for ceasing labor one day a week. In the context of the ancient world, the Sabbath was unique to Israel.No other ancient people had the privilege of resting one day in seven. At the same time, such a rest required an extraordinary trust in God’s provision. Six days of work had to be enough to plant crops, gather the harvest, carry water, spin cloth, and draw sustenance from creation. While Israel rested one day every week, the encircling nations continued to forge swords, feather arrows, and train soldiers. Israel had to trust God not to let a day of rest lead to economic and military catastrophe.
==>We face the same challenge today to trust in God’s provision today. If you follow God’s commandment to rest one day a week, will you be able to hold a job, keep the house clean, prepare meals, mow the lawn, or complete your other responsibilities? Do you trust God to make this work for you?
==> What does Sabbath look like for us today? What are some Sabbath practices in your life? What practices would enable you to keep the Sabbath holy?