Wednesday, September 14, 1994


READ: Exodus 31:12-18




"The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."


Mark 2:27


An important part of the fourth commandment is God's

instruction to work (Ex. 20:9),  a point often missed. Legitimate

 work glorifies God and has eternal signi- ficance (Eph. 6:5-8)

 if done in balance with appropriate rest. That's the underlying truth

of this commandment.


Effective and God-honoring labor is impossible without rest.

That's why God ordained a rhythm of work and rest based on His

actions during the 7 days of creation (Ex. 31:17). When we tamper

with this pattern, we get in trouble. During the French Revolution

when the 7-day week was lengthened to a 10-day week, even the

horses got sick. Without renewal, the body breaks down.


But there's a deeper spiritual significance to observing a day of

rest. While we must avoid all legalistic attitudes and practices

regarding it (Rom. 14:5-6), we need a regular time to reflect on

our relationship with God -- a rest not merely for physical

renewal but for spiritual renewal. We must ponder what Christ has

done for us on the cross and experience the rest that comes by

trusting completely in His finished work (Heb. 3-4).


Do we need to take a new look at this old commandment

about God's rest day?


- Dennis J. DeHaan


When we take time for fun and play,

For rest along life's busy way,

And when we pause to kneel and pray --

We'll be renewed from day to day.






Our rest day gives meaning to the rest of the week.