The Fourth Commandment: The REST of the Week
INTRO: Today, we’re looking at the Fourth Commandment. I’ve found that there’s more misunderstanding about this command than any other. God never intended the Sabbath to be a burden but, rather, a blessing. We ought to begin our week with rest before we enter the work-week.
I. Why does God want us to rest?
> Exodus 20:9 states: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.”
- The word “all” means that you should do no work on the seventh day.
- The Lord blessed the Sabbath and made it set apart.
- Because we are His sons and daughters, we want to live in a way that pleases God.
- However, we do not keep the Ten Commandments to get to heaven.
- If we are “doers” and people who “go, go, go,” we need to remember to rest.
- Why is it important?
- God wants us to learn to trust Him.
> God wants us to daily trust Him for supernatural provision.
- The Israelites had to trust that God would provide manna for them each day.
- But there was no manna on the seventh day; it was the Sabbath day (Exodus 16:26).
- The Israelites gathered twice as much manna the day before the Sabbath, and it did not spoil (Exodus 16:22-23).
- God provided for them; He also provides for us.
> We can come to believe we need to work seven days a week.
- God reminded the Israelites that He redeemed them out of Egypt; they used to work as slaves every day, but now they could rest and trust God to provide (Deuteronomy 5:15).
> It is to give us refreshment.
- God rested and was refreshed (Exodus 31:17).
- During the time of the Israelites, no other nation rested one day a week.
- Those nations saw that the Israelites took a day off to worship.
- It served as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and His provision.
II. What does it mean to rest?
> The Hebrew word for rest is to take a breath.
- God rested even though the Bible says that God never sleeps nor slumbers (Genesis 2:3; Psalm 121:3-4).
- How can God be refreshed?
- God created for six days; He created by speaking (Genesis 1).
- On the seventh day, He took a breath.
- It is a day for all of us to take a breath.
> The Jewish Sabbath begins at sunset with Sabbath rituals and blessings being recited.
- They attend services, eat leisurely meals, study the Torah, and sleep.
- At the conclusion of the Sabbath day, a blessing is also recited.
- It is a full day but also very relaxing.
- God gives us rest.
III. What happens if we don’t rest?
> It is a serious thing to take a rest in the Lord.
- The Israelites found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32).
- They brought him to Moses (Numbers 15:33).
- The Lord said to Moses: “The man must die; the whole assembly must stone him” (Numbers 15:35).
- The man was being rebellious.
> When we don’t take time to rest, are we not killing ourselves?
- We develop health problems when we don’t take time to rest.
- It is important.
- When we don’t rest, we are saying that we don’t trust God to provide for us.
- We think we have to handle it.
- It doesn’t mean there is no battle going on, but God is taking care of it.
- We can rest.
> The Pharisees accused Jesus and His disciples of working on the Sabbath (Mark 2:24).
- Jesus was walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to pluck the heads of the wheat (Mark 2:23).
- Jesus pointed out that David and his companions ate the consecrated bread from the temple when they were hungry.
- It was unlawful for them; only priests were to eat the consecrated bread (Mark 2:26).
- The Sabbath was made for man; man was not made for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).
- The enemy tries to tell us that there may be one thing that we have done today that will take away our salvation.
- Salvation is through the sacrifice of Jesus, not through our striving.
- The new covenant is that every day is a Sabbath rest.
IV. What happens when we do rest?
> God speaks to us through His Word and through our time spent with Him.
- There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Just as God did, make every effort to enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:9).
- Take the principle of the rest and take time to rest and read His Word.
- Take time for prayer, and take time to go before the Lord in silence.
- He will breathe into us as we breathe out.
- It will become a routine that we choose to include in our day.
- If we choose to go before Him in silence, He will come to us.
- It’s okay to fall asleep.
- When we rest, we acknowledge that we can’t work hard enough to gain heaven.
- We have been saved because Jesus completed the work for us on the cross.
- We can rest.
CONCLUSION: Jesus used the Sabbath for worshipping God and for resting from work. He encouraged His disciples to do the same. May we honor God by enjoying this beneficial gift of taking a day of rest each week. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this message today?