Sometimes we just need a day off. A 24-hour period in which we don’t have to think about work or other worries and stressors of life.
The Sabbath was established by God after He made the world in six days. He was the first one to celebrate it and declared this seventh day a period of rest. A pause. A time for taking it all in—even before sin polluted the world and work became a burden.
Centuries later it was included in the Ten Commandments, so the children of Israel would remember where they came from, who their God was, and what a blessing it was they could partake in.
Today this blessing remains (Hebrews 4:9), just as God set it up after creating an entire world for us to live in and care for (Genesis 1:26). The Sabbath can be a welcome break that renews us for each week (making us more productive) while also allowing us to grow closer to Him.
But what does the Sabbath really mean? What does it symbolize, why is it a commandment, and how are we supposed to keep it in today’s world that never seems to stop?
The Sabbath is both simple and complex. It’s a wonderful gift that gives us time to recharge and reminds us of a loving, creative God.
It’s also important enough to God that He made it a commandment, regarding it as a symbol of belief, love, and respect. Keeping or remembering the Sabbath is something He asks of us, while at the same time blessing us with it.
So, let’s take a look at some key traits of the Sabbath as we learn more about it, and about God:
- The origin of the Sabbath at creation
- How Sabbath was intended as a gift from God
- How Sabbath connects you more closely to God
- How Sabbath can bring us closer to others
- How Sabbath is represented throughout the Bible
- How Sabbath is represented throughout history
- Celebrating Sabbath today
THE FIRST SABBATH—THE SEVENTH DAY, FOLLOWING CREATION
The answer to this question takes us back to the beginning of time on earth. Before there was any religion. Before there was a written law. Before evil, or sin, infected humanity.
If we start at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis, we learn about God speaking the world into existence, one day at a time. Of course, God didn’t need a whole day to manifest each of these parts of our world. From what we can tell, He likely did so as a way to show that each stage of development has its own significance and should be appreciated for what it is.
After the sixth day of creation, when He made human beings, He blessed the seventh day—even though the work of creation was done.
While it wasn’t yet named “Sabbath,” this special seventh day was “made holy” in the name of His creation. God made time to appreciate and enjoy this world and invites us to regularly pause and do the same.