After God created the world in six days, He rested from His work on the seventh day. The basic meaning of this is that God finished or completed the initial work of creation. It is as if He took some time to sit back and admire His handiwork like and artist relishing in his completed painting. “The Hebrew verb used here, shavath, means “cease” or “rest.” The English word “Sabbath” comes from the related Hebrew noun shabbath. The word implies that God’s work of creation was completed, so He stopped.”
In verse three, we find that God sanctified this day of rest. In other words, He set it apart and declared it as a day of rest. This serves as a pattern for us today. “The seven days of creation end with this description of God’s rest. The creation account of 1:1–2:3, where God works for six days and rests on the seventh, provides a theological rationale for the Sabbath observance. The command to observe the Sabbath in Exodus 20:8–11 is based directly on the pattern developed in this passage.” The issue here is not necessarily the day of the week, but rather, the need for us to have a day set aside for rest and for worship. Today, we observe the ‘Sabbath’ day on Sunday due to the fact that Jesus rose from the grave on the first day of the week.
When it comes to rest, most of us, get very little rest. Depriving ourselves of rest is a violation of God’s Word. God created us with the need to rest. He wants us to take time to relax, rest, and sleep. The purpose of taking time to rest is to pull ourselves away from the busyness of life and to spend time in communion with God. Without proper and quality rest, we will find ourselves weak both physically, mentally, and spiritually. The more we take such times of rest and spending time with God, the less stress we will have and the more we will rest in the Lord when life gets tough.
In considering this day of rest that is sanctified by God, I’d like to share with you what I like to call the Sabbath Principle. In Exodus 20:8-11 a command is given to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. The Sabbath is a time that is set aside to rest from work and to spend time in worship and in prayer. Let me give you three suggestions that, I believe, if we faithfully apply to our lives we will live with less stress and we will glorify God more.
The Sabbath Day. The Sabbath Day is a day that is set aside for worship. Today, the Sabbath is observed on Sundays. This is a time when we gather together with other believers to worship and to encourage one another in our walk with God. Going to church is vitally important to your Christian walk. Every believer should be a part of a local Bible-preaching church. Look at Hebrews 10:24-25. The scripture is very plain that church attendance is a must for every believer. As a matter of fact, I can say with confidence that not going to church unless physically hindered is a sin. Hebrews 10:25 is a command, not a suggestion. When we violate this clear teaching of scripture, we are living in sin. You need the church and the church needs you. The only thing that should keep you from regular church attendance is physical sickness. If you are physically able, you need to be in church. Only going to church Sunday morning and not participating in other church services is also a violation of scripture. Hebrews 10:25 says that we are to come together more and more. We are not to forsake gathering together. In other words, we should be in church every time the church doors are open when at all possible, especially on Sundays. Do not neglect the Sabbath Day, to do so is detrimental to your walk with God.
The Sabbath Hour. In addition to keeping the Sabbath Day and attending church, we should all keep a regular daily Sabbath Hour. This is one hour that is set aside each day for the purpose of getting alone with God. As you keep a Sabbath Hour each day you will find that you will be much more productive and less stressed throughout the day. Keeping a Sabbath Hour will help you to rest more. During your Sabbath Hour, there are several things you can do.
- MEDITATE. Begin by getting quiet, closing your eyes, and clearing your mind.
- PRAY. Continue with a time of praise to God through prayer. (Spend this time thanking Him, not asking Him for things)
- STUDY. Open up the Bible and let the Word of God speak to you. As you read a passage of scripture, ask the following questions: (a) What does it say? (b) What does it mean? (c) What is God saying to me? (d) How can I apply this passage to my life today?
- MEDITATE. After your Bible study time, meditate on what you learned. Do not talk. Just stay quiet and listen.
- PRAY. The next step is to pray for your day, your family, and for others. This is the time to bring your requests before God.
- PRAISE. Take a moment to praise God for what you have learned and for answered prayer.
- MEDITATE. Before you end your Sabbath Hour, pause and get quiet again until you are ready to face the day.
The Sabbath Retreat. This suggestion may be difficult to do, but if at all possible, make it happen. A Sabbath Retreat is a time when you go away for a day or two, just you and God. Perhaps stay in cabin or go camping. Maybe go to a conference. Whatever the case, bring your Bible and a notebook and spend time praying, reading, listening, mediating, and sleeping. Having a yearly Sabbath Retreat could really change your life.
Imagine if every believer in the world and every believer in our church kept this Sabbath Principle. What would happen if all of us kept the Sabbath Day, had a daily Sabbath hour, and went on a yearly Sabbath Retreat? I really believe that if we all take the Sabbath Principle seriously and applied it to our lives, then revival would sweep across this world and God would do amazing things in and through us.
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 2:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.