Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 5:13–14
There’s a home-improvement store near me that has a big green button in one of its departments. If no assistant is present, you push the button, which starts a timer. If you’re not served within a minute, you get a discount on your purchase.
We like being the customer in this scenario who enjoys the speedy service. But the demand for fast service often takes a toll when we’re the one expected to deliver it. So many of us today feel rushed doing our jobs, working long hours, checking email multiple times a day, and feeling pressured to meet tighter and tighter deadlines. The customer service tactics of the home-improvement store have seeped into all our lives, creating a culture of rush.
When God told the Israelites to keep a Sabbath, He added an important reason: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 5:15). There they’d been forced to work ceaselessly under Pharaoh’s excessive time constraints (Exodus 5:6–9). Now freed, they were to give themselves a whole day each week to ensure they and those who served them could rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). Under God’s rule, there were to be no flush-faced, out-of-breath people.
How often do you work to the point of exhaustion or get impatient with people who keep you waiting? Let’s give ourselves and each other a break. A culture of rush is Pharaoh’s doing, not God’s.
How can you resist the urge to overwork? How will you be patient this week with people who keep you waiting?
God of the Sabbath, thank You for commanding me to rest so I can be whole.
When Moses taught God’s commandments in Deuteronomy 5, it was a “reissue” of the Ten Commandments first delivered in Exodus 20. In fact, Deuteronomy means “second law” because it was the second time Moses taught the law to the people. But when we compare the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, we notice some subtle differences. For instance, the commandment to keep the Sabbath in Deuteronomy 5:12–15 is grounded on God’s act of redemption when He rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (v. 15). But the commandment in Exodus 20:8–11 is grounded on God’s rest on the seventh day from His work of creation (v. 11). Putting both passages together, we see that God’s intention in creation and redemption is our blessed rest. This culminates in Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).