Exodus 31:12-13 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that sanctifies you.
The word sabbath means rest. It is only when we rest from our labors that the Lord is allowed to move through us. We must realize that our labors merit nothing. It is the resting from our works, or submission to Him, that enables His holiness to be worked in us by the activity of His presence.
Most people, Jew and Christian alike, put the emphasis on the sabbath day of the week. Some choose Saturday as their sabbath and some Sunday. Regardless of the day they choose to honor, there is no merit with God when the emphasis is placed on a particular day.
The sabbath day, according to verse thirteen, is a sign. A sign points to something else. So it is not the sign, but what the sign directs us to that is most important. The Lord said, “My sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign…that you may know that I am the Lord…” The sabbath, then, is a sign that should direct us to a revelation-knowledge of the Lord. He wants us to experience Him.
What happens when the emphasis is on the sabbath day of the week? He said that the sabbath “is a sign BETWEEN Me and you.” As long as the sign is the emphasis, there is a separation between God and us. But when we look with faith beyond the sign, then we can know He is Lord. It is one thing to believe He is Lord because someone tells you or because the Scriptures say so; it is quite another thing to know He is Lord by a revelation to your heart.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews says, “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11). Honoring a particular day of the week and refusing to do any work on that day will not enable us to enter His rest. We labor to enter His rest. Neither will we enter His rest by doing a lot of good works. We should do good works, but neither the quantity nor quality of works will bring us into His rest.
How, then, shall we labor to enter that rest? It is a labor of faith. First, we must realize that the sabbath is a sign pointing us to a relationship with God. Secondly, a revelation of that relationship is needed. Then, and only then, will we labor to enter His rest. That labor will not be the performing of good works, though. It will be a hunger, a driving force, to know the Lord. The good works will be there, but they won’t be regarded any more than the sign. Good works automatically flow from a heart that hungers for the Lord. They go unnoticed by the one doing them because his focus is entirely upon the Lord. It is almost as though he is not aware of them. Why? It’s because he has entered the sabbath-rest, and he is not doing the works, but God doing them through him. It is only when we rest from our labors that the Lord is allowed to move through us.
Copyright © 1995 by Henry DuBose