“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord.’”
Moses refers to the Sabbath over twenty times in Leviticus; instructing Israel how to worship the Lord. The Sabbath was a very important facet in the life of the children of Israel. God designated a weekly Sabbath day, then every seven years was a Sabbath year, and every forty-nine years, a special Sabbath year, called the year of Jubilee. One of the Ten Laws written by the finger of God, stated, the Sabbath day was dedicated, above all the others, as a day of rest. The driving force behind this command, was the example God had set in Creation.
“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
The Sabbath would serve a number of valuable purposes in the life of the believer. First, God wanted His people to rest. Since He designed our bodies, He knows what is best for them, and wants us to learn to take a break. It would do us good to set aside times to rest from our labors and concerns, simply focusing on the goodness of the Lord. Second, the Sabbath was designed to build faith. Israel was an agrarian society, whose existence depended upon the harvest. Yet, in the midst of harvesting the grain, they would be required to stop and rest for a day. Every seven years, they were required to let the land rest, and not plant crops. All of this was designed to cause Israel to trust in the provision that would come from the Lord. God wants us to realize, although we must work hard and apply the principles of the Word to our daily living, we must also learn to trust in His grace. Finally, the Sabbath would set Israel apart from all other nations. As the nation grew and developed trade with surrounding countries, they would stand out because of their refusal to do work on the Sabbath. Much of God’s law was designed with that purpose. He wanted His people to stand out. It was never the desire of God that we be hidden away in the crowd, but like Shadrach and his friends (Daniel 1-3), we stand above the culture and point the way to God.
While we are no longer under the law of the Sabbath, the principles remain. Much of what God is doing in your life, is so you might learn to rest in Him and trust Him. Rather than looking at our daunting circumstances, we should look to the promises of His Word. He is also seeking to make us stand out. Not in a weird way, but because we are a people who are trusting Him, and living according to His Word. Like a city set on a hill, we will become the light of the world, pointing people to the Savior.